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Sun, 25 Mar 2018
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Western sanctions: Russia ready to be cut off from internet with its own web

© Martin Poole / Global Look Press
If Western sanctions go as far as excluding Russia from the world wide web, the country's own internet is ready, according to the Russian presidential aide on the internet, German Klimenko.

"Technically, we are ready for anything now," he told NTV news channel. However, the shutdown will not be painless, Klimenko added.

"Failures always occur when moving from one technology to another. Someone will face connection troubles. Probably, it will be found out that someone kept data abroad, although there is a decree to store it in Russia. Someone is still hosting their domains outside the country. They will, therefore, probably experience some difficulties," he added.

Eye 1

Do larger pupils mean higher intelligence?

blue eyes
People with larger pupils have higher intelligence and the difference is visible to the naked eye, research finds.

A larger pupil size reflects both a higher fluid intelligence and a greater working memory capacity.

The pupils are the black part at the centre of the eye which dilate in response to changes in light.

Psychologists have found they also respond to brain activity: the faster our brains are working, the more the pupil widens.

The study's authors explain:
"Starting in the 1960s it became apparent to psychologists that the size of the pupil is related to more than just the amount of light entering the eyes.

Pupil size also reflects internal mental processes.

For instance, in a simple memory span task, pupil size precisely tracks changes in memory load, dilating with each new item held in memory and constricting as each item is subsequently recalled."


In search of vaccine, 17 humans are paid to be injected with devastating parasite

parasitic worms
© Getty images
Seventeen humans have volunteered to host parasitic worms in their bodies for 12 weeks. It is hoped that the study will lead to a life-saving vaccine for one of the most devastating diseases in the world.

The Netherland-based study is centered around finding a cure for schistosomiasis, (also known as snail fever), a type of parasitic flatworm that enters the body through the skin and can cause devastating effects like kidney failure, bladder cancer and infertility.

The parasitic disease affects hundreds of millions of people around the world and kills thousands every year. Infected children in sub-Saharan Africa and South America, where the condition is particularly common, have also had their physical growth and learning ability impacted, reports Futurism.


'Reverse speciation' - Raven species reverse Darwin's tree

© Stephencdickson/Wikipedia
A common raven, in its own way reconfiguring Darwinian thought.
A new study of the genetic make-up of ravens has revealed a startling and little-known side to evolution - "reverse speciation". And as science gradually becomes more aware of this phenomenon, researchers are finding it popping up everywhere, including in humans.

In 1837 (or possibly 1838) Charles Darwin sat aboard HMS Beagle and in his diary sketched the first evolutionary tree, depicting a single species branching out to become many, a visual representation of his ideas about descent with modification. This image is central to the modern understanding of evolution and the generally held belief that the most important evolutionary phenomenon is speciation - the forming of new species from a parent species.

But this might not be the whole story. Scientists are beginning to suspect that the evolutionary histories of some organisms aren't all about endless branching and speciation. Rather, some organisms have "reticulated histories", meaning their lines of descent form a network, with lineages occasionally coming together.

This, at least, is the conclusion of recent research on the North American common raven (Corvus corax) published in the journal Nature Communications. Lead author Anna Kearns, a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Centre for Conservation Genomics in Washington DC, US, builds on years of research by her colleagues and co-authors to demonstrate that two lineages of common ravens have actually come together to form a new hybrid, which in certain places is replacing both parent species. This is known as "reverse speciation"'.


Russia and China create joint data center, sign agreement to cooperate on lunar and deep space research

russia china cooperation lunar projects
The countries will also look into the possibilities of providing assistance for their corresponding lunar programs, including the Russian launch of its Luna-26 orbiter in 2022, and China's planned moon landing scheduled for 2023.
Russia and China have agreed to create a joint data center for lunar and deep space projects, Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced.

The projects will involve Russian and Chinese scientific and industrial bodies and companies, Roscosmos said in a statement on Saturday.

Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) also signed an agreement of intent on cooperation over moon and deep space research, at the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) in Tokyo.


Fast growing black hole defies the laws of physics

Black Hole
© YouTube
Everything that we think we knew about the growth of black holes has just been flipped on its head-scientists have discovered a massive anomaly out in space that is defying the laws of physics as we know it.

It had previously been believed that black holes at the center of galaxies grow in tandem with the star clusters around them-as a galaxy expands, the black hole will grow as well, feeding on the matter and information that it absorbs. Thus far, every supermassive black hole we've found has existed within an appropriately sized galaxy-the bigger the black hole, the bigger the galaxy around it.

As it turns out, this isn't always the case. The WISE1029+0501 is a modestly sized galaxy which, based on previous assumptions, should play host to a small-ish black hole. Not so; the supermassive black hole at its center is instead far larger than the galaxy ought to be able to support.

2 + 2 = 4

'Brain tsunamis' during dying have been observed in humans for the first time

The moment death becomes irreversible.
brain tsunamis
© Hueberto/iStock
For the first time, researchers have been able to study the moment brain death becomes irreversible in the human body, observing the phenomenon in several Do Not Resuscitate patients as they died in hospital.

For years, scientists have researched what happens to your brain when you die, but despite everything we've found out, progress has been stymied by an inability to easily monitor human death - since physicians are conventionally obliged to prevent death if they can, not monitor it as it takes hold.

Microscope 1

Cancer breakthrough? Scientists in China develop tiny nanorobots that can cut off blood supply to tumors

DNA-based nanorobot
© Arizona State University
The DNA-based nanorobot has a tube-shaped structure with a diameter of about 19 nanometers and a length of about 90 nanometers.
Chinese scientists said they have successfully created and tested the world's first autonomous DNA nanorobots to combat cancer tumors, paving the way for revolutionary cancer therapy.

Scientists from China's National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) led the research and cooperated with scientists from Arizona State University in upgrading the design of the nanorobots. The scientific study was published in Nature Biotechnology in February.

A nanorobot refers to a designed system that can perform a specific task at nanoscale dimensions.

Comment: Wow. Could it be, after decades of "the war on cancer", some headway has actually happened? It's not surprising that this research is coming out of China, which is likely out of the reach of Big Pharma and their medical monopoly. Whether or not this technology, if proven viable, makes it into Western markets given the hit Big Pharma would take on their cash-cow chemotherapy, remains to be seen.

More on nanotechnology:


Video of Russian Su-57s in 60 seconds: Cutting-edge fighters perform head-spinning stunts

Russian Su-57s
© Maksim Blinov / Sputnik
Russian Su-57s

The Russian military's TV channel has released a video featuring the capabilities of Russia's most advanced Su-57 warplanes. The fifth-generation jets have been recently deployed for combat drills in Syria.

The state-of-the-art Su-57s are captured in a stunning video published by the Zvezda channel on Thursday. Designed by Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi, the multirole Su-57 fighter, also known as Sukhoi PAK-FA (T-50), boasts supermaneuvrability and can fly at hypersonic cruising speeds. The fighter is able to equally engage targets on the ground and in the air.

Microscope 1

Scientists warn plague 'hiding in plain sight'

Great Plague of London
© Getty Images
Eighteenth Century engraving showing a death cart unloading bodies into a mass grave during the Great Plague of London
The bacteria that cause plague, or the Black Death, could be lying dormant in common soil and water sources, posing a serious public health risk, scientists have warned.

The finding, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, could explain why plague suddenly re-emerges without warning in countries such as Madagascar and even the United States.

In the middle ages the Black Death swept through Europe, killing an estimated 75 to 200 million people. It is no longer a global threat but the new research may explain its occasional outbreaks across the world.

David Markman, from Colorado State University who led the study, said that plague is endemic in many different parts of the world and its origins are still not well understood.

Comment: See also: New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection