Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some Science Stories

io9 reports New Cancer Therapy Leaves Three Dead "Clinical trials of a promising new therapy, in which white blood cells are reprogrammed to attack cancer cells, has resulted in the deaths of three patients. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration has ordered a temporary halt to the trial."

It’s an incredibly promising new approach to battling cancer—but now there’s been a major setback. Three patients, all under the age of 25, have died in a Juno Therapeutics Phase II clinical trial that’s been using the CAR-T cells to treat ALL. The patients died after excess fluids accumulated in their brains (cerebral edemas). In all cases, the deaths happened after a chemotherapy drug, fludarabine, was added to the treatment regimen.

stat news has more, What's next for CAR-T after Juno's clinical misstep?

The Verge reports This robot stingray is propelled by rat heart cells, and it’s teaching us about underwater robotics. "A team of scientists have developed a robot that mimics the motion of a stingray by using the cardiac muscles from a rat mounted on a stingray-shaped skeleton. The robot, detailed in a study published in the journal Science, is a wonderfully weird hybrid of biological and mechanical engineering that could be the first step towards a new class of underwater robots."

This robot uses a single layer of muscle allowed for downward contraction to mimic movement. While live creatures have another layer of muscle to pull their wings upward, the skeleton of this robot is designed to rebound after such a contraction, simplifying the overall structure. When the muscles were stimulated with light, the combined actions allowed the robot to swim forward.

FIveThirtyEight reports, The Loudest Sound In The World Would Kill You On The Spot. "Consider this piece of history: On the morning of Aug. 27, 1883, ranchers on a sheep camp outside Alice Springs, Australia, heard a sound like two shots from a rifle. At that very moment, the Indonesian volcanic island of Krakatoa was blowing itself to bits 2,233 miles away. Scientists think this is probably the loudest sound humans have ever accurately measured. Not only are there records of people hearing the sound of Krakatoa thousands of miles away, there is also physical evidence that the sound of the volcano’s explosion traveled all the way around the globe multiple times."

Are reports, HTTPS crypto’s days are numbered. Here’s how Google wants to save it. "In the coming months, Google servers will add a new, experimental cryptographic algorithm to the more established elliptic curve algorithm it has been using for the past few years to help encrypt HTTPS communications. The algorithm—which goes by the wonky name "Ring Learning With Errors"—is a method of exchanging cryptographic keys that's currently considered one of the great new hopes in the age of quantum computing. Like other forms of public key encryption, it allows two parties who have never met to encrypt their communications, making it ideal for Internet usage."

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