schwit1 writes: It was a nuclear disaster four times worse than Chernobyl in terms of the number of cases of acute radiation sickness, but Moscow’s complicity in covering up its effects on people’s health has remained secret until now.
We knew that in August 1956, fallout from a Soviet nuclear weapons test at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan engulfed the Kazakh industrial city of Ust-Kamenogorsk and put more than 600 people in hospital with radiation sickness, but the details have been sketchy.
After seeing a newly uncovered report, New Scientist can now reveal that a scientific expedition from Moscow in the aftermath of the hushed-up disaster uncovered widespread radioactive contamination and radiation sickness across the Kazakh steppes.
The scientists then tracked the consequences as nuclear bomb tests continued — without telling the people affected or the outside world.
The report by scientists from the Institute of Biophysics in Moscow was found in the archive of the Institute of Radiation Medicine and Ecology (IRME) in Semey, Kazakhstan. “For many years, this has been a secret,” says the institute’s director Kazbek Apsalikov, who found the report and passed it on to New Scientist.
The newly revealed report, which outlines “the results of a radiological study of Semipalatinsk region” and is marked “top secret”, shows for the first time just how much Soviet scientists knew at the time about the human-health disaster and the extent of the cover-up.
tomhath writes: A recently published study identifies the active compounds in fruits of the Brazilian Peppertree that help heal wounds while also blocking the ability of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to necrotize flesh. From the report:
One of the earliest written records concerning the use of S. terebinthifolia date back to 1648 when it was described by Dutch naturalist, Willem Piso, in his book Historia Naturalis Brasiliae... It is included in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia and has served as a staple in Brazilian traditional medicine for its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory qualities in the treatment of wounds and ulcers as well as for urinary and respiratory infections. Bark extracts have demonstrated antibacterial activity against several pathogens, including S. aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Aspergillus species. Bark extracts were also found to be active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were effective against peritonitis when injected into the abdominal cavity of rats...
Very little is known, however, regarding the chemistry and bioactivity of the fruits, which were used traditionally as topical poultices for infected wounds and ulcers. Furthermore, while many studies have focused on growth inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties of this plant, none have examined its potential as a source of anti-virulence drugs.
drunkdrone writes: A team of engineers has developed a pair of eyeglasses that automatically adjust focal length based on what the wearer is looking at. The so-called adaptive eyeglasses contain special liquid lenses and sensors that make them capable of focusing on both nearby and faraway objects, without the wearer having to switch frames.
The 'smart glasses' have been developed by a team of engineers at the University of Utah and could do away with the need for bifocals entirely. And, because the lenses continually adjust to the wearer's eyesight, there's no need to continually change prescriptions as eyesight deteriorates with age: all the wearer has to do is programme in their prescription using a smartphone companion app and they're set for life.
MrKaos writes: 30 years and seven months since the explosion that set all of this in motion the project known as the 'Shelter Implementation Plan' has been rolled into place sealing the crippled Chernobyl reactor. More than 10,000 people were involved in the project, which includes an advanced ventilation systems and remote controlled robotic cranes to dismantle the existing Soviet-built structure and reactor.
DeviceGuru writes: HackerBoards has just published its annual New Year's round-up of Linux- and Android-friendly single board computers. This time around, there are 90 boards in the list, all of which are briefly profiled with links to their sources. There's also a big Google Docs spreadsheet that compares the key specs of all 90 boards, which range in price from $5 to $199 for their lowest cost models. "Community backed, open spec single board computers running Linux and Android... play a key role in developing the Internet of Things devices that will increasingly dominate our technology economy in the coming years," says the post.
SonicSpike writes: Tesla’s autopilot might make you drive like a grandma, but that’s a small price to pay since it can also, apparently, see the future. A dashcam video seems to show the autopilot for a Tesla Model X predict that the two cars ahead of it were about to crash, even though the human driver would’ve had no way to see the collision coming.
Electek reports that the crash took place on the Autobahn in the Netherlands. Hans Noordsij, a Dutch electric car enthusiast who first reported the incident, said that nobody in the crash was seriously injured, according to the driver of the Tesla. In the video, you can hear the Tesla’s Forward Collision Warning start pinging for seemingly no reason — then the car ahead of the Tesla slams into the SUV in front of it that had been hidden from view.
The Tesla was able to tell this was going to happen thanks to the September autopilot update, which added radar — a tried-and-true technology that Elon Musk said could cut accident rates in half. The radar aspect of the autopilot allowed the Model X to track two cars ahead of itself. Even though the SUV wasn’t visible, the radar knew where it was — and that it was about to get rear-ended.
Applehu Akbar writes: Merck has developed an Ebola vaccine which, according to Lancet is showing virtually complete effectiveness in preventing infection by the dreaded disease. Is is now being fast-tracked for general distribution by 2018.
dryriver writes: The BBC reports: The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. The one-of-a-kind discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside. "This is the first time we've found dinosaur material preserved in amber," co-author Ryan McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, told the BBC News website. Co-author Prof Mike Benton, from the University of Bristol, added: "It's amazing to see all the details of a dinosaur tail — the bones, flesh, skin, and feathers — and to imagine how this little fellow got his tail caught in the resin, and then presumably died because he could not wrestle free."
harrymcc writes: In 1954, the Ideal Toy Company released Robert The Robot, the first toy robot made in the U.S. He was made of plastic instead of the more common tin, had a hand-cranked remote control and talked. And he not only became a bestseller, but appeared in a movie, inspired songs, and was generally a media superstar. And then everyone forgot about him. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman chronicles his odd and interesting story.
sciencehabit writes: Earlier this year, the Cassini spacecraft screwed up an orbital maneuver at Saturn because of a problem with its radio connection to Earth. The incident was one of several recent glitches in the Deep Space Network (DSN), NASA’s complex of large radio antennas in California, Spain, and Australia. For more than 50 years, the DSN has been the lifeline for nearly every spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit, relaying commands from mission control and receiving data from the distant probe. On 30 September, in a meeting at NASA headquarters, officials will brief planetary scientists on the network’s status. Many are worried, based on anecdotal reports, that budget cuts and age have taken a toll that could endanger the complex maneuvers that Cassini and Juno, a spacecraft now at Jupiter, will require over the next year.
ErichTheRed writes: This isn't perfect, but it is the first attempt I've seen at removing the "body shop" loophole in the H-1B visa system. A bill has been introduced in Congress that would raise the minimum wage for an H-1B holder from $60K to $100K, and place limits on the body shop companies that employ mostly H-1B holders in a pass-through arrangement. Whether it's enough to stop the direct replacement of workers, or whether it will just accelerate offshoring, remains to be seen. But, I think removing the most blatant and most abused loopholes in the rules is a good start.
MrKaos writes: Videos are emerging of another terrorist attack in Nice France. Police failed to stop the driver of a fixed axle lorry who sebsequently used the vehicle to plough through crowds of people celebrating Bastille day. Claims are emerging that the driver was also using an automatic weapon and had a stock of grenades. France was still in a state of emergency from the previous terrorist attacks.
Eighty four are dead and eighteen are in a critical condition.
The cowardly Daesh (ISIS) have claimed responsibility for the attack against the citizens of France. Link to Original Source
mknewman writes: Sure, BattleBots was cool, but let’s not forget the real father of Robot TV deathmatches broadcast for our pleasure: the classic BBC series Robot Wars. Fans of violent robotic combat rejoice then, because the BBC are bringing back the series with more robots, and some mandatory science bits to distract you from the FIGHTING ROBOTS.
AmiMoJo writes: Two strange metal spheres fell to the ground on Sunday evening in a remote part of Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam. "The sky was clear, suddenly we heard a thunder-like noise," a witness told Thanh Nien. Locals people later found the orb near a stream. The two objects, one around 80cm and the other 27cm in diameter made a sound like thunder as they came crashing down. Similar objects have fallen in other parts of the world over the years, believed to be hydrazine bladder tanks from Russian made space vehicles.
schwit1 writes: While world leaders signed the 'historic' agreement signed in Paris to fix the world's "greatest threat," a natural gas storage site in southern California is belching 145,000 pounds per hour of Methane — a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. What is worse, while official proclaim this a "top priority" a fix won't arrive until spring as emergency crews recognize "the leak was far from routine, and the problem was deeper underground."
In just the first month, that's added up to 80,000 tons, or about a quarter of the state's ordinary methane emissions over the same period.