science stuff from the wise mammoth

mindblowingscience:

This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Here’s why you should be worried.

By Ishaan Tharoor July 28 at 2:12 PM
The worst Ebola outbreak in history has put a number of countries in West Africa in lockdown, led to the deaths of nearly 700 people since February and brought new reports of doctors, including Americans, contracting the virus they are attempting to contain. The situation is undeniably scary. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Ebola?
Ebola viral disease is a highly infectious illness with fatality rates up to 90 percent, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. Symptoms initially include a sudden fever as well as joint and muscle aches and then typically progress to vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding — you can see a full, grim description of symptoms compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.
The virus spreads through contact with bodily fluids of someone who is infected. Reports of human infections usually first emerge in remote areas that are in proximity to tropical rain forests, where humans can come into contact with animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope. The consumption of bush meat is often a precursor to such outbreaks. The WHO says fruit bats are probably the natural host for the virus.

Continue Reading.
Jul 29

mindblowingscience:

This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Here’s why you should be worried.

 July 28 at 2:12 PM

The worst Ebola outbreak in history has put a number of countries in West Africa in lockdown, led to the deaths of nearly 700 people since February and brought new reports of doctors, including Americans, contracting the virus they are attempting to contain. The situation is undeniably scary. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Ebola?

Ebola viral disease is a highly infectious illness with fatality rates up to 90 percent, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. Symptoms initially include a sudden fever as well as joint and muscle aches and then typically progress to vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding — you can see a full, grim description of symptoms compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.

The virus spreads through contact with bodily fluids of someone who is infected. Reports of human infections usually first emerge in remote areas that are in proximity to tropical rain forests, where humans can come into contact with animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope. The consumption of bush meat is often a precursor to such outbreaks. The WHO says fruit bats are probably the natural host for the virus.

Continue Reading.

(via thecraftychemist)

The battle for virtual reality: Google, Samsung, Sony and Oculus VR
Ben Gilbert, engadget.com
Back in June, Google revealed Card­board: an open-source attempt at mobile vir­tu­al real­i­ty. Heck, even the “hard­ware” is open source —here are instruc­tions to make your own, right now!But the con­cept is more than a low-tech solu­tion to…
Jul 28

The battle for virtual reality: Google, Samsung, Sony and Oculus VR
Ben Gilbert, engadget.com

Back in June, Google revealed Card­board: an open-source attempt at mobile vir­tu­al real­i­ty. Heck, even the “hard­ware” is open source —here are instruc­tions to make your own, right now!

But the con­cept is more than a low-tech solu­tion to…

(Source: smarterplanet)

theatlantic:

A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway

The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.
Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.
"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”
Read more. [Image: DARPA]
Jul 27

theatlantic:

A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway

The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.

Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.

"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”

Read more. [Image: DARPA]

(via sagansense)

hungrylikethewolfie:

dezeen:

The “first man-made biological leaf” could enable humans to colonise space»

From the article:

Melchiorri’s Silk Leaf project, which he developed as part of the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab, consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein.

My mom, former science teacher: “It’s made out of silk protein?”  *awed whisper* “You could make clothes out of it.”
Jul 27

hungrylikethewolfie:

dezeen:

The “first man-made biological leaf” could enable humans to colonise space»

From the article:

Melchiorri’s Silk Leaf project, which he developed as part of the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab, consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein.

My mom, former science teacher: “It’s made out of silk protein?”  *awed whisper* “You could make clothes out of it.”

(via thecraftychemist)

america-wakiewakie:

Previously Uncontacted Tribe Have Contracted Influenza | IFL Science 
Earlier this month, Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) confirmed that an Amazonian tribe that had never before had contact with the outside world had made voluntary contact; a rare event that is usually brought on by threats of violence. Rather than be excited to learn more about the group’s ways and customs, anthropologists have been fearful that the tribe would be exposed to diseases for which they have no immunity. Their worst fears were confirmed when FUNAI announced that those who made contact have indeed contracted the flu, which has annihilated entire tribes in the past.
Based on their hair style and skin ornamentation, it is possible that the individuals who made contact belong to the Chitonahua tribe. Their language is similar to Panoan, which allowed them to communicate with the tribe they found. The isolated people contacted a tribe in Acre, a Brazilian state with a low population density at about 5 per square kilometer. They had been living in Peru along the Xinane River, but were forced to leave in what was likely a threat from illegal loggers or drug traffickers who utilize the river. They reported they had been fired upon.
The two tribal groups co-existed peacefully for about three weeks. During that time, the five men and two women who had made contact fell ill from the flu virus. Doctors were brought in to help provide care, though the indigenous people were initially hesitant to accept the treatment and vaccination. Unfortunately, these people returned to their village without warning. Medical officials are now highly concerned that they will transmit disease to the others which could kill a substantial number of their tribe.
“This news could hardly be more worrying – not only have these people confirmed they suffered violent attacks from outsiders in Peru, but they have apparently already caught flu,” stated Stephen Corry, director of an indigenous people activist group, Survival International. “The nightmare scenario is that they return to their former villages carrying flu with them. It’s a real test of Brazil’s ability to protect these vulnerable groups. Unless a proper and sustained medical program is immediately put in place, the result could be a humanitarian catastrophe.”
In addition to the flu, it is possible that other diseases were picked up during their time of contact. FUNAI is sending a team of health professionals to seek out the tribe and deliver medication, but that help won’t arrive until next month. Until then, officials will have to hope that the disease didn’t spread through the rest of the tribe. Additionally, the people are still threatened by those conducting criminal activity.
"Both Peru and Brazil gave assurances to stop the illegal logging and drug trafficking, which are pushing uncontacted Indians into new areas. They’ve failed. The traffickers even took over a government installation meant to monitor their behavior," Corry said. “The uncontacted Indians now face the same genocidal risk from disease and violence which has characterized the invasion and occupation of the Americas over the last five centuries. No one has the right to destroy these Indians.”
(Photo Credit:  FUNAI)
Jul 26

america-wakiewakie:

Previously Uncontacted Tribe Have Contracted Influenza | IFL Science 

Earlier this month, Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) confirmed that an Amazonian tribe that had never before had contact with the outside world had made voluntary contact; a rare event that is usually brought on by threats of violence. Rather than be excited to learn more about the group’s ways and customs, anthropologists have been fearful that the tribe would be exposed to diseases for which they have no immunity. Their worst fears were confirmed when FUNAI announced that those who made contact have indeed contracted the flu, which has annihilated entire tribes in the past.

Based on their hair style and skin ornamentation, it is possible that the individuals who made contact belong to the Chitonahua tribe. Their language is similar to Panoan, which allowed them to communicate with the tribe they found. The isolated people contacted a tribe in Acre, a Brazilian state with a low population density at about 5 per square kilometer. They had been living in Peru along the Xinane River, but were forced to leave in what was likely a threat from illegal loggers or drug traffickers who utilize the river. They reported they had been fired upon.

The two tribal groups co-existed peacefully for about three weeks. During that time, the five men and two women who had made contact fell ill from the flu virus. Doctors were brought in to help provide care, though the indigenous people were initially hesitant to accept the treatment and vaccination. Unfortunately, these people returned to their village without warning. Medical officials are now highly concerned that they will transmit disease to the others which could kill a substantial number of their tribe.

“This news could hardly be more worrying – not only have these people confirmed they suffered violent attacks from outsiders in Peru, but they have apparently already caught flu,” stated Stephen Corry, director of an indigenous people activist group, Survival International. “The nightmare scenario is that they return to their former villages carrying flu with them. It’s a real test of Brazil’s ability to protect these vulnerable groups. Unless a proper and sustained medical program is immediately put in place, the result could be a humanitarian catastrophe.”

In addition to the flu, it is possible that other diseases were picked up during their time of contact. FUNAI is sending a team of health professionals to seek out the tribe and deliver medication, but that help won’t arrive until next month. Until then, officials will have to hope that the disease didn’t spread through the rest of the tribe. Additionally, the people are still threatened by those conducting criminal activity.

"Both Peru and Brazil gave assurances to stop the illegal logging and drug trafficking, which are pushing uncontacted Indians into new areas. They’ve failed. The traffickers even took over a government installation meant to monitor their behavior," Corry said. “The uncontacted Indians now face the same genocidal risk from disease and violence which has characterized the invasion and occupation of the Americas over the last five centuries. No one has the right to destroy these Indians.”

(Photo Credit:  FUNAI)

(via dendroica)

Jul 25

fishingboatproceeds:

A health center in Southcentral Ethiopia that provides 24/7 emergency care to over 5,000 people living in rural areas. The health center is where many women deliver their babies, where you can get contraception (including Depo implants), and where a variety of illnesses are tested and treated. There’s also a lab with a hand-cranked blood centrifuge and a microscope where a lab technician types malaria and pneumonia infections.

In the first photograph, you can see Abdul, who leads this health center, explaining local disease rates to Bill Gates.

The second photograph gives you a sense of the health center itself (which has no running water and very little electricity). The third picture is the view from the health center of the huts where nearby families live.

The bottom picture charts under-5 mortality since 2004, when these health centers opened (along with the more rural health outposts, which I posted about here). The red line is Ethiopia; the gray line the world average.

In 2004, more than 11% of children born in Ethiopia died before five; today, it’s less than 7%. And as you can see, every year since 2004, the under-5 mortality rate has fallen faster in Ethiopia than it has in the world overall. Now, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but both the patients and health workers I spoke to agreed these rural health centers are working. 

(It’s also worth noting that Ethiopia’s under-5 mortality rate has dropped far faster than other nations, even those that spend much more on health. In Nigeria, for instance, 12% of kids still die before the age of 5; Pakistan, which is far richer than Ethiopia, has barely seen its under-5 mortality drop at all in the past decade. So the world has a lot to learn from Ethiopia’s health investments.) 

emergentfutures:

Melbourne-made 3D-printed body parts could replace cadavers for medical training

A team of medical experts in Melbourne has created a 3D-printed anatomy kit that is set to revolutionise medical training around the world.
The printed body parts which look almost exactly the same as the real thing can be used to replace difficult to get and expensive cadavers that are crucial for training doctors.

Full Story: ABC
Jul 23

emergentfutures:

Melbourne-made 3D-printed body parts could replace cadavers for medical training

A team of medical experts in Melbourne has created a 3D-printed anatomy kit that is set to revolutionise medical training around the world.

The printed body parts which look almost exactly the same as the real thing can be used to replace difficult to get and expensive cadavers that are crucial for training doctors.

Full Story: ABC

emergentfutures:

Google Glass hack allows brainwave control


By combining the smart glasses with an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, the software makes it possible to take a picture without moving a muscle.
London-based start-up This Place said the tech could be utilised in high-pressure hands-free situations - such as during surgery.
It has released the MindRDR software for free in the hope that developers will adapt it for other uses.


Full Story: BBC
Jul 20

emergentfutures:

Google Glass hack allows brainwave control

By combining the smart glasses with an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, the software makes it possible to take a picture without moving a muscle.

London-based start-up This Place said the tech could be utilised in high-pressure hands-free situations - such as during surgery.

It has released the MindRDR software for free in the hope that developers will adapt it for other uses.

Full Story: BBC