Take a break from the virus

I thought at first that the “fingers’ were controlled by a computer, but this is actually an animated video.

It was produced by a company called Animusic. The company is known for its Animusic compilations of computer-generated animations, based on MIDI events processed to simultaneously drive the music and on-screen action, leading to and corresponding to every sound. Unlike many other music visualizations, the music drives the animation. While other productions may animate figures or characters to the music, the animated models in Animusic are created first, and are then programmed to follow what the music instructs them to do.

If you understand all that, you’re smarter than I am.

~ Aischrolatreia

Miracles: Finding cures in nature

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

crabThe Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine Runs on Horseshoe Crab Blood

Pharmaceutical companies use the creature’s blue blood to test for contaminants. umans owe a debt to the strange-looking, ancient horseshoe crab. Its blue blood is used in medicine to ensure that anything that gets injected or implanted into the human body is free of potentially life-threatening bacterial contamination. A special compound in the crab’s blood quickly clots in the presence of endotoxins, microbial byproducts that can be harmful, supplying a perfect natural test for purity. In the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, horseshoe crab blood is very important.

New Spider Silk Vaccine May Prevent Cancer

New technique developed by encapsulating a vaccine into a spider silk microparticle may prevent cancer and major infectious diseases. To strengthen the efficacy of vaccines on the immune system – and in particular on T lymphocytes, specialized in the detection of cancer cells – researchers have developed spider silk microcapsules capable of delivering the vaccine directly to the heart of immune cells. This process could also be applied to preventive vaccines to protect against infectious diseases and constitutes an important step towards vaccines that are stable, easy to use, and resistant to the most extreme storage conditions.

snailSea snail venom could lead to better insulin for diabetics

The Conus geographus, a species of venomous sea snail, preys on fish by emitting plumes of venom that stun and paralyze its prey, allowing time for the snail to slime along and eat the fish while it’s still alive. But the venom might be useful to humans, too. Inside the venom, there are hundreds of [different] molecules. One of the molecules looks very similar to [human] insulin, and researchers found that it works far more quickly than human insulin. While human insulin can take up to half an hour to impact blood glucose levels, the venom insulin works almost instantly, causing the fish’s blood sugar to spike and temporarily paralyzing them.

butterflyWe can soon thank butterfly tongues for better cancer treatments and vaccines

Butterflies have devised various highly efficient transport systems that move droplets, only a few microns in diameter, through their proboscices by taking advantage of basic physical forces like capillary action. This gas important applications for human technologies. For example, butterfly-inspired probes may soon deliver toxic anti-cancer agents to the interior of cancerous cells—a revolutionary breakthrough that would allow doctors to destroy wildly replicating cancerous cells but minimize risks to healthy tissues. Or, the evolutionary strategies worked out by butterflies may help surgeons deliver nano-liter quantities of blood to the tiniest of human blood vessels, thus preventing them from becoming oxygen-deprived.

A Tiny Worm Has Been Found Carrying New Antibiotic That Could Help Us Fight Superbugs

As the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs continues to get more dire, scientists may have found a new weapon for tackling some of the worst superbugs we know of: a new antibiotic called darobactin, which is able to take on gram-negative bacteria. Darobactin took some finding though, across two years of research – the antibiotic compound was discovered in Photorhabdus bacteria, lurking inside the gut of tiny parasitic worms known as nematodes. The hope is that darobactin can be developed into something suitable for humans – the first time such a leap would have been made from an animal microbiome 

~ Heteroclite

 

The Innovators: Slippery toilets, smart bricks

The creative among us:

This new magical coating saves water by making toilets so slippery that poop basically flushes itself. What if you didn’t have to use as much water to flush what you put in them? Don’t be squeamish: New tech from researchers at Penn State is designed to make toilets so slippery that they’re essentially self-cleaning, cutting water use in half in the process.

Lincoln’s new heated windshield wiper tech could make winter driving a lot simpler. First off, they’re heated. Each blade contains a strip of thin metal foil connected to a power source. Second, the system forces washer fluid out through 38 or 42 laser-cut holes on the blades themselves, right onto the glass. This allows the vehicle to use 50 percent less liquid.

bricksBacteria-Filled Bricks Build Themselves. Researchers have developed a living substance that can transform from a gooey sand mixture into a solid brick—and then help build more copies of itself. Powered by photosynthesis, these microorganisms absorb sunlight, nutrients, and carbon dioxide and spit out calcium carbonate—the rigid compound found in seashells and cement.

A new approach to making airplane parts, minus the massive infrastructure. “If you’re making a primary structure like a fuselage or wing, you need to build a pressure vessel, or autoclave, the size of a two- or three-story building, which itself requires time and money to pressurize,” says Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “These things are massive pieces of infrastructure. Now we can make primary structure materials without autoclave pressure, so we can get rid of all that infrastructure.”

houseThe world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood now has its first houses. In a rural area on the outskirts of a town in Southern Mexico, a giant, 33-foot-long 3D printer recently built the walls of the first homes in the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood. The 500-square-foot houses were finished with roofs, windows, and interiors.

~ Singultus