Slime mold that saves memories without nervous system

Researchers have identified a single-cell slime mold called Physarum polycephalum that saves memories – although it’s no nervous system.

The study published within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences within the us of America was conducted by researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) and therefore the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Having memory about the environment is vital in taking informed decisions. The concept of memory is traditionally related to organisms possessing a nervous system.

However, even very simple organisms store information about past experiences to thrive during a complex environment—successfully exploiting nutrient sources, avoiding danger, and avoiding predators.

Karen Alim, head of the Biological Physics and Morphogenesis group at the MPI-DS in Göttingen and professor for the idea of Biological Networks at the Technical University of Munich said “It is extremely exciting when a project develops from an easy experimental observation.”

Giant unicellular slime mold Physarum polycephalum responds to a nutrient source. The organism entirely consists of interlaced tubes of varying diameters.

“Given P. polycephalum’s highly dynamic network reorganization, the persistence of this imprint sparked the thought that the specification itself could function memory of the past,” says Karen Alim. However, they first needed to elucidate the mechanism behind the imprint formation.

Memory about the nutrient location is encoded within the morphology of the network-shaped organism. a nutrient source locally releases a softening agent that gets transported by the cytoplasmic flows within the tubular network.

“The gradual softening is where the prevailing imprints of previous food sources inherit play and where information is stored and retrieved,” says first author Mirna Kramar. “Past feeding events are embedded within the hierarchy of tube diameters, specifically within the arrangement of thick and thin tubes within the network.”

“For the softening chemical that’s now transported, the thick tubes within the network act as highways in traffic networks, enabling quick transport across the entire organism,” adds Mirna Kramar.

“Previous encounters imprinted in the specification thus weigh into the choice about the longer term direction of migration.”

Tubes receiving tons of softening agent grow in diameter at the expense of other tubes shrinking. Thereby, the tubes’ capacities for flow-based transport get permanently upgraded toward the nutrient location, redirecting future decisions and migration. This demonstrates that nutrient location is stored in and retrieved from the networks’ tube diameter hierarchy.

In the study, scientists identify a flow networks’ version of associative memory—very likely of relevance for the plethora of living flow networks also as for bioinspired design.

“Given the simplicity of this living network, the power of Physarum to make memories is intriguing. it’s remarkable that the organism relies on such an easy mechanism and yet controls it in such a fine-tuned manner,” says Karen Alim.

“These results present a crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding the behavior of this ancient organism and at an equivalent time points to universal principles underlying behavior. We envision potential applications of our findings in designing smart materials and building soft robots that navigate through complex environments,” concludes Karen Alim.

Source: Wion news

New Superman movie to be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Image credit: Slash Films

Acclaimed essayist and novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates, the person behind various comic books within the Marvel series, is ready to require his talents into the DC Universe.

The novelist has been hired to write down the script for the feature reboot of Superman, which can be produced by J.J. Abrams.

Coates has already written several comic books within the Captain America and Black Panther series and received “special thanks” credits in three Marvel films: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.

According to Variety, the new Superman film, which remains in its very early development stages, also will be produced by Hannah Minghella. Presently no director is attached to the project and therefore the look for an actor to portray Kal-El / Superman on the large screen has not yet started.

The Superman project appears likely to become his first film writing credit. J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, is additionally reportedly attached to the project.” To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor,” Coates told Shadow and Act during a statement. “I anticipate to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America’s most iconic mythic hero.” Coates’ talent agency didn’t answer an invitation for comment.

Coates is additionally known for nonfiction works like Between the planet and Me, also as a deep-dive into the history of demands for reparations for formerly enslaved people within the US, and therefore the got to revisit the thought within the present.

“Ta-Nehisi Coates’sBetween the planet and Me’ opened a window and altered the way many folks see the planet ,” Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich said. “We’re confident that his combat Superman will give fans a replacement and exciting thanks to see the person of Steel.”

‘Between the planet and Me’ was adapted into an HBO film which debuted last November, while ‘The Water Dancer’ is getting a big-screen adaptation from a producing team that has Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, though this is the first DC feature known to be in development under Abrams` expansive WarnerMedia deal, he has several DC series within the works for streaming service HBO Max, including Justice League Dark and Constantine.

Source: Wion News

Gender reveal parties are transphobic says Demi Lovato

Image credit Pagesix

The singer took to Instagram to share a post calling out gender reveal parties as transphobic. By sharing a post from transgender rights activist Alok Vaid-Menon, “why gender reveals are transphobic.” The post states that “both insincere and incorrect to pretend that gender reveal parties aren’t transphobic.”

“This isn’t about political correctitude , it’s just … correct,” the post adds. “We condemn gender reveals not due to our identity, but due to reality. Gender reveals are supported the illusion that genitals = gender which there are only two options ‘boy or girl’,” the post continued.

“This definition erases the very fact that there are boys with vaginas and girls with penises which there are people that are neither boys nor girls. the thought that sex is predicated on genitalia is inconsistent with science.”

Demi also thanked the transgender rights activist within the caption and wrote, ” Alok Vaid Menon with the important 🙏🏼💕 many thanks for sharing your knowledge and educating us always.

”The refusal to acknowledge this stems from a misunderstanding of what transphobia is. Transphobia isn’t just prejudice or violence against a private trans person, it’s a belief system that presumes non-trans people to be more “natural” than trans people. Only individual people can self determine their gender”. she wrote within the caption.

Demi Lovato has long been an outspoken ally of the LGBTQ community.

Source: Wion News

Charlie said his behavior was juvenile

image credit twitter

Charlie Sheen wishes he would have done things differently, 10 years after his infamous public meltdown.

In a recent interview, the actor reflected on his old methods and said, “People have [said to] me, ‘Hey, man, that was so cool, that was so fun to observe . That was so cool to be a neighborhood of and support and every one that energy and, you know, we stuck it to the person . My thought behind that’s , ‘Oh, yeah, great. I’m so glad that I traded early retirement for a… hashtag.”

Charlie was the highest-paid actor on TV for his role in ‘Two and a Half Men’. But, from 2011 things got out of control after Charlie started saying weird things at odd interviews.

“There’s a flash when [former CBS CEO] Les Moonves and his top lawyer, Bruce, were at my house and that they said, ‘OK, the Warner jet is fueled abreast of the runway. Wheels up in an hour and getting to rehab, right?’ My first thought was kind of like really … there’s some comedy value to what my first thought was,” he said. “In that moment, once I said, ‘Oh, damn, I finally get the Warner jet.’ That’s all I heard. But if I could return in time thereto moment, I would’ve gotten on the jet. And it had been that big left turn therein moment that led to, you know, a really unfortunate sequence of public and insane events.”He continued, “There were 55 different ways for me to handle that situation, and that i chose number 56.”

With the advantage of time, Charlie said he grew from the meltdown, but only after he took ownership. His behavior, he adds, was juvenile.

“I think it had been drugs or the residual effects of medicine ,” he continued. “And it had been also an ocean of stress and a volcano of disdain. it had been all self-generated, you know. All I had to try to to was take a step back and say, ‘OK, let’s make an inventory . Let’s list, like, everything that’s cool in my life that’s happening immediately . Let’s make an inventory of what is not cool.’ you know what I’m saying? and therefore the cool list was really full. The not cool list was, like, two things that could’ve been easily dismissed.”

Still, Charlie wishes more people would have seen his behavior at the time as a cry out for help.

“They showed up in droves with banners and songs, all kinds of fanfare and celebration of, you know, what i feel was a really public display of a psychological state moment,” he said. “I had four children and went through two divorces in and around trying to navigate the landscape of being on the foremost popular show within the known universe, so it had been tons . And sometimes you choose a target, you need a scapegoat, you need someone to place it all on. You know? It cannot be me, it’s gotta be him or them or those folks. and that is just not the road best traveled.”

Christian Bale to work with Scott Cooper for thriller ‘The Pale Blue Eye’

image credit IMDb

Christian Bale will reunite with filmmaker Scott Cooper for a thriller titled ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ that revolves around a young Edgar Allen Poe. The Oscar-winning actor has previously collaborated with the director for critically-acclaimed movies ‘Out of the Furnace’ and ‘Hostiles’.

According to Deadline, Cooper will write and direct the film which is predicated on a 2003 novel by Louis Bayard. The story is about in 1830 and finds a veteran detective (Bale) investigating a gruesome murder at West Point Academy.

As an assistant, the detective takes on a young poet with a penchant for drink, the person who will someday come to be known to the planet as Edgar Allen Poe. As they work to uncover the mystery, their own friendship soon unravels as Poe delves into his partner’s own dark past.

Cooper said that the film is his attempt at whodunnit genre. “I want to form films that push me into a special , maybe uncomfortable space, but i’m glad to possess Christian go there with me. I’ve wanted to form this for over a decade and fortunately on behalf of me ,

Christian has perfectly aged into the lead character,” the filmmaker said. “He was far too young once I first thought of creating this. Films are meant to happen at the proper time. Christian is usually in high demand, but to be ready to make this with him are going to be such a joy on behalf of me ,” he added.

Production hopes to start this fall. Bale and Cooper also will both produce the film, as will John Lesher and Cross Creek’s Tyler Thompson.

This will be Bale and Cooper’s third feature together. Cooper last directed ‘Antlers’ for Searchlight Pictures and was also attached to direct Margaret Qualley in “A Head filled with Ghosts.”

Bale last starred in ‘Ford v. Ferrari’ and is at work on David O. Russell’s untitled next film at New Regency and Marvel’s ‘Thor: Love and Thunder.’

Source: Wion News

New catalyst could power next-gen electronics

Unlike LIBs, the reaction pathway in LSBs results in an accumulation of solid lithium sulfide (Li2S6) and liquid lithium polysulfide (LiPS), causing a loss of active material from the sulfur cathode (positively charged electrode) and corrosion of the lithium anode (negatively charged electrode). to enhance battery life, scientists are trying to find catalysts which will make this degradation efficiently reversible during use.

In a new study published in ChemSusChem, scientists from Gwangju Institute of Technology (GIST), Korea, report their breakthrough during this endeavor. “While trying to find a replacement electrocatalyst for the LSBs, we recalled a previous study we had performed with cobalt oxalate (CoC2O4) during which we had found that charged ions can easily adsorb on this material’s surface during electrolysis. This motivated us to hypothesize that CoC2O4 would exhibit an identical behavior with sulfur in LSBs also ,” explains Prof. Jaeyoung Lee from GIST, who led the study.

To test their hypothesis, the scientists constructed an LSB by adding a layer of CoC2O4 on the sulfur cathode.

Sure enough, observations and analyses revealed that CoC2O4’s ability to adsorb sulfur allowed the reduction and dissociation of Li2S6 and LiPS.

Further, it suppressed the diffusion of LiPS into the electrolyte by adsorbing LiPS on its surface, preventing it from reaching the lithium anode and triggering a self-discharge reaction.

These actions together improved sulfur utilization and reduced anode degradation, thereby enhancing the longevity, performance, and energy storage capacity of the battery.

Charged by these findings, Prof. Lee envisions an electronic future governed by LSBs, which LIBs cannot realize. “LSBs can enable efficient electric transportation like in unmanned aircrafts, electric buses, trucks and locomotives, additionally to large-scale energy storage devices,” he observes. “We hope that our findings can get LSBs one step closer to commercialization for these purposes.”

Perhaps, it’s only a matter of time before lithium-sulfur batteries power the planet .


Materials provided by GIST (Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology).

Disease-sniffing device that rivals a dog’s nose

Image credit : Bechewy

But it takes time to coach such dogs, and their availability and time is limited. Scientists are looking for ways of automating the amazing olfactory capabilities of the canine nose and brain, during a compact device. Now, a team of researchers at MIT and other institutions has come up with a system which will detect the chemical and microbial content of an air sample with even greater sensitivity than a dog’s nose. They coupled this to a machine-learning process which will identify the distinctive characteristics of the disease-bearing samples.

The findings, which the researchers say could someday cause an automatic odor-detection system sufficiently small to be incorporated into a cellphone, are being published today within the journal PLOS One, during a paper by Clare Guest of Medical Detection Dogs in the U.K., Research Scientist Andreas Mershin of MIT, and 18 others at Johns Hopkins University, the prostatic adenocarcinoma Foundation, and a number of other other universities and organizations.

“Dogs, for now 15 years approximately , are shown to be the earliest, most accurate disease detectors for anything that we’ve ever tried,” Mershin says. And their performance in controlled tests has in some cases exceeded that of the simplest current lab tests, he says. “So far, many various kinds of cancer are detected earlier by dogs than the other technology.”

What’s more, the dogs apparently obtain connections that have thus far eluded human researchers: When trained to respond to samples from patients with one sort of cancer, some dogs have then identified several other sorts of cancer — although the similarities between the samples weren’t evident to humans.

These dogs can identify “cancers that do not have any identical biomolecular signatures in common, nothing within the odorants,” Mershin says. Using powerful analytical tools including gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) and microbial profiling, “if you analyze the samples from, let’s say, carcinoma and bladder cancer and lung cancer and breast cancer — all things that the dog has been shown to be ready to detect — they need nothing in common.” Yet the dog can somehow generalize from one kind of cancer to be ready to identify the others.

Mershin and therefore the team over the previous couple of years have developed, and continued to enhance on, a miniaturized detector system that comes with mammalian olfactory receptors stabilized to act as sensors, whose data streams are often handled in real-time by a typical smartphone’s capabilities. He envisions each day when every phone will have a scent detector inbuilt , even as cameras are now ubiquitous in phones. Such detectors, equipped with advanced algorithms developed through machine learning, could potentially acquire early signs of disease far before typical screening regimes, he says — and will even warn of smoke or a gas leak also .

In the latest tests, the team tested 50 samples of urine from confirmed cases of prostate cancer and controls known to be freed from the disease, using both dogs trained and handled by Medical Detection Dogs in the U.K. and therefore the miniaturized detection system. They then applied a machine-learning program to tease out any similarities and differences between the samples that would help the sensor-based system to spot the disease. In testing an equivalent samples, the synthetic system was ready to match the success rates of the dogs, with both methods scoring quite 70 percent.

The miniaturized detection system, Mershin says, is really 200 times more sensitive than a dog’s nose in terms of having the ability to detect and identify tiny traces of various molecules, as confirmed through controlled tests mandated by DARPA. But in terms of interpreting those molecules, “it’s 100% dumber.” That’s where the machine learning comes in, to undertake for finding the elusive patterns that dogs can infer from the scent, but humans haven’t been ready to grasp from a qualitative analysis .

“The dogs do not know any chemistry,” Mershin says. “They don’t see an inventory of molecules appear in their head. once you smell a cup of coffee, you do not see an inventory of names and concentrations, you are feeling an integrated sensation. That sensation of scent character is what the dogs can mine.”

While the physical apparatus for detecting and analyzing the molecules in air has been under development for several years, with much of the main target on reducing its size, so far the analysis was lacking. “We knew that the sensors are already better than what the dogs can neutralize terms of the limit of detection, but what we’ve not shown before is that we will train a man-made intelligence to mimic the dogs,” he says. “And now we’ve shown that we will do that . We’ve shown that what the dog does are often replicated to a particular extent.”

This achievement, the researchers say, provides a solid framework for further research to develop the technology to A level suitable for clinical use. Mershin hopes to be ready to test a far larger set of samples, perhaps 5,000, to pinpoint in greater detail the many indicators of disease. But such testing doesn’t come cheap: It costs about $1,000 per sample for clinically tested and authorized samples of disease-carrying and disease-free urine to be collected, documented, shipped, and analyzed he says.

Reflecting on how he became involved during this research, Mershin recalled a study of bladder cancer detection, during which a dog kept misidentifying one member of the control group as being positive for the disease, albeit he had been specifically selected supported hospital tests as being disease free. The patient, who knew about the dog’s test, opted to possess further tests, and a couple of months later was found to possess the disease at a really early stage. “Even though it’s only one case, I even have to admit that did sway me,” Mershin says.

The team included researchers at MIT, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, Medical Detection Dogs in Milton Keynes, U.K., the Cambridge Polymer Group, the prostatic adenocarcinoma Foundation, the University of Texas at El Paso , Imagination Engines, and Harvard University . The research was supported by the prostate cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and also the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Original written by David L. Chandler. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Over 140,000 viral species living in the human gut

The paper, published today (18 February 2021) in Cell, contains an analysis of over 28,000 gut microbiome samples collected in several parts of the planet .

The amount and variety of the viruses the researchers found was surprisingly high, and therefore the data reveal new research avenues for understanding how viruses living within the gut affect human health.

The human gut is an incredibly biodiverse environment. additionally to bacteria, many thousands of viruses called bacteriophages, which may infect bacteria, also live there.

It is known that imbalances in our gut microbiome can contribute to diseases and sophisticated conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, allergies and obesity.

But relatively little is understood about the role our gut bacteria, and therefore the bacteriophages that infect them, play in human health and disease.

Using a DNA-sequencing method called metagenomics, researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) explored and catalogued the biodiversity of the viral species found in 28,060 public human gut metagenomes and a pair of,898 bacterial isolate genomes cultured from the human gut.

The analysis identified over 140,000 viral species living within the human gut, quite half which haven’t been seen before.

Dr Alexandre Almeida, Postdoctoral Fellow at EMBL-EBI and therefore the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “It’s important to recollect that not all viruses are harmful, but represent an integral component of the gut ecosystem. For one thing, most of the viruses we found have DNA as their genetic material, which is different from the pathogens most of the people know, like SARS-CoV-2 or Zika, which are RNA viruses. Secondly, these samples came mainly from healthy individuals who didn’t share any specific diseases. It’s fascinating to ascertain what percentage unknown species live in our gut, and to undertake and unravel the link between them and human health.”

Among the tens of thousands of viruses discovered, a replacement highly prevalent clade — a bunch of viruses believed to possess a standard ancestor — was identified, which the authors ask because the Gubaphage.

This was found to be the second most prevalent virus clade within the human gut, after the crAssphage, which was discovered in 2014.

Both of those viruses seem to infect similar sorts of human gut bacteria, but without further research it’s difficult to understand the precise functions of the newly discovered Gubaphage.

Dr Luis F. Camarillo-Guerrero, first author of the study from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “An important aspect of our work was to make sure that the reconstructed viral genomes were of the very best quality. A stringent internal control pipeline including a machine learning approach enabled us to mitigate contamination and acquire highly complete viral genomes. High-quality viral genomes pave the thanks to better understand what role viruses play in our gut microbiome, including the invention of latest treatments like antimicrobials from bacteriophage origin.”

The results of the study form the idea of the Gut Phage Database (GPD), a highly curated database containing 142,809 non-redundant phage genomes which will be a useful resource for those studying bacteriophages and therefore the role they play on regulating the health of both our gut bacteria and ourselves.

Dr Trevor Lawley, senior author of the study from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “Bacteriophage research is currently experiencing a renaissance. This high-quality, large-scale catalogue of human gut viruses comes at the proper time to function a blueprint to guide ecological and evolutionary analysis in future virome studies.”

Source : Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Pink’s daughter Willow makes Billboard debut

image credit : pinterest

Singer Pink’s daughter recently made her mama proud as her song made its Billboard chart debut.

Pink’s daughter Willow Sage is 9-years-old and is already making records. Pink and her daughter Willow’s duet for his or her cover ‘Cover Me In Sunshine’ dropped on Lincoln’s Birthday and made its thanks to Billboard charts.

To date, the track has charted for one week and reached No. 104 on the Billboard Global 200.

Pink had shared the song together with her fans and wrote, “’Cover Me In Sunshine’ with my daughter is out now!! Hope this one puts a smile on your face 🌞.”

In a statement shared with PEOPLE when ‘Cover Me In Sunshine’ was released, the singer opened about her challenging 2020 and explained that music has been a source of happiness for the mother, daughter duo.

She said, “[The past year] has been numerous things for us: sad, lonely, scary, yes,” but “it’s also been quiet, reflective and an excellent teacher. Willow and that i find comfort in music, so we’re putting this song out for no other reason than that we hope it brings you sweetness, sunshine and luxury too.”

Source : WION News

Katharine McPhee, 36, welcomes first baby

Katharine McPhee and her husband David Foster have welcomed their first baby together. The 36-year-old singer gave birth to a baby boy.

The news was confirmed during a statement, ”Katharine McPhee and David Foster have welcomed a healthy baby boy. Mom, Dad and son are all doing wonderfully”. Foster, 71, is already father to 5 daughters 34-year-old Jordan, 38-year-old Erin, 40-year-old Sara, 47-year-old Amy and 50-year-old Allison from previous relationships.

In a new episode of the “Women on Top” podcast, during which she revealed they were having a son. “Since I’m having a boy, I don’t know if people know that, it’s definitely different, you think that about various things ,” she said when discussing the pressure on women in society. “I always wanted a woman , that’s always what I wanted — I always wanted both. Let’s just be honest that . But now that I’m having a boy, I’m like, ‘Phew, wow, there’s various things i want to stress about.’ Versus the items i might be brooding about with a woman .”

McPhee and therefore the legendary record producer got married in June 2019. It’s the second marriage for McPhee and therefore the fifth for Foster. The ‘Smash’ star was previously married to Nick Cokas from 2008 to 2016, while Foster was previously married to B.J. Cook, Yolanda Hadid, Linda Thompson and Rebecca Dyer.

Source; – WION News