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Urban foxes may be self-domesticating in our midst

urban foxes may be self-domesticating in our midst

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A fox on the prowl in its Bristol, U.K., home

Sam Hobson/Minden Pictures

By Virginia MorellJun. 2, 2020 , 7:01 PM

In a famous Siberian experiment carried out the 1950s, scientists turned foxes into tame, doglike canines by breeding only the least aggressive ones generation after generation. The creatures developed stubby snouts, floppy ears, and even began to bark.

Now, it appears that some rural red foxes in the United Kingdom are doing this on their own. When the animals moved from the forest to city habitats, they began to evolve doglike traits, new research reveals, potentially setting themselves on the path to domestication.

“I’m not so much surprised as delighted,” by this study, says Lee Dugatkin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Louisville, who has written about the Russian fox experiment but was not involved with the new work. “This is a ‘natural experiment’ that is very much in line with what the Russian experiment has found.”

The renowned Siberian study immediately came to mind when Kevin Parsons heard about a large collection of red fox skulls at National Museums Scotland. A native Canadian and evolutionary biologist at the University of Glasgow, Parsons had already been struck by the …

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Capital Factory Launches 100K Challenge for Tech Startups

capital factory launches 100k challenge for tech startups

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[Video still: Harvard Biodesign Lab]
Capital Factory, which calls itself “the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas,” has opened applications for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, which will close on June 28.
The finalists will be judged by a panel of entrepreneurs, defense industry leaders, and venture capitalists with $100,000, which will be awarded by Capital Factory on a convertible note, and a “new home” at Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation on the line, according to a blog post.
The challenge will take place on July 15 during the first-ever Fed Supernova virtual conference, which is a “first-of-its-kind interactive experience” bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and thought leaders in the defense industry, according to the post.
The two-day conference will also include keynotes, lightning talks, “Epic Office Hours,” and panel discussions. Army Futures Command’s Innovation Combine and xTechSearch programs have partnered with Capital Factory for the event.
To qualify for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, a tech startup must be based in the United States and developing hardware and/or software applications that improve a person’s physical or cognitive capabilities. You can apply for the challenge here.
Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation
Last year, Capital Factory …

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Insect wings evolved from legs, mayfly genome suggests

insect wings evolved from legs, mayfly genome suggests

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No bigger than a mosquito, this mayfly swarms by the millions in late spring.

Isabel Almudi

By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 2, 2020 , 5:20 PM

Along rivers and streams around the world, mayflies are a rite of spring. The mosquito-size insects lead double lives, with the young thriving in water and the adults emerging by the millions around June for just a few hours to mate and quickly die. There can be so many that they clog traffic, make roads slick, and even create a smelly mess.

Now, by sequencing the genome of one remarkable mayfly species—whose males have a second set of skyward-pointing eyes—researchers have learned how aquatic young transform into airborne adults. They’ve also discovered new clues about how all insects evolved to fly in the first place.

The amount of information gleaned from the study is impressive, says Craig Macadam, an entomologist at the U.K.-based nonprofit insect conservation organization Buglife. “It really shows that once we know the genetic makeup of a species, we can start to work out a huge amount about [it].”

Because of their sheer numbers, mayflies are important food for birds, fish, and mammals. They spend most of their lives underwater eating dead …

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Want to explore a real haunted house? Best virtual reality tours to try at home

want to explore a real haunted house? best virtual reality tours to try at home

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Like everyone else in the world, you’ve probably had to put off your travel dreams and getaway destinations until this pandemic blows over.Some of us have resorted to catching livestreams, others dove into gaming to “explore” other worlds. But for those who want a more in-depth experience, you might want to consider another option: A virtual reality (VR) tour.

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The advantage of a VR tour is that it provides much more in terms of experience than a straightforward livestream. When it comes to the latter, you can’t control the feed, but with VR, you’re the virtual master of your own universe (or at least what’s shown onscreen, that is)We’ve cobbled together some of the most interesting ones you can experience for yourself. And the best part is – you don’t have to buy any goggles or gadgets.CLIMB UP EVEREST BASE CAMP, NEPAL

(Photo: Google Maps)

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Few Singaporeans have ever made it to the top of Everest – it’s a dangerous feat that requires intense physical training and mental fortitude. Those looking for a more straightforward – but still difficult – experience, go up to the base camp instead.If you’ …

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Science from home: Walking Rainbow

science from home: walking rainbow

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What you need:

Clear cups (recommend 6-7) WaterFood coloringPaper towels Spoon/ something to stir withTime: 2 hours (can vary)

Steps:

Fill every other cup about 3/4 full of waterAdd food coloring to the water (recommend adding primary colors: red, yellow & blue) Stir in food coloring so it is evenly dispersedFold paper towel in half longways (creating a skinnier, but still tall paper towel) Fold paper towel longways again, keeping height, but making it skinnierPlace half of the paper towel into the water, and put the other half into the dry cupRepeat steps 4-6 until folded paper towels connect all of the cupsWait and watch what happens

The science and how this applies to the Earth:

Just like us, plants need water they need to survive. But, unlike humans who can just drink the water, they have roots that transfer it through the plant.

In this experiment, the paper towels will act as the roots of the plant, and the empty cups represent the leaves of the plant (which might be dry after a couple of days without rain).

You might have noticed that right away, the paper towel starts to absorb the water, much like roots absorb water from the ground.

But, …

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Warrington surgeon carries out virtual reality surgery on ITV’s Loose Women

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A TOP Warrington surgeon has carried out simulated surgery on four TV presenters following a request from ITV’s Loose Women to do a ‘virtual reality makeover’ on the show.

Consultant Gerard Lambe, who is based at the Spire Hospital in Stretton, is one of the first surgeons in the UK to introduce simulated surgery using state of art virtual reality technology.

The show approached Mr Lambe to carry out the fun transformations as the panelists were curious to see how they would look with a few tweaks using his new tech.

Mr Lambe, who leads the Reflect Clinic, is widely regarded as one of the UK’s top surgeons is a spokesperson for industry body BAAPS, agreed and the fun makeovers were given a major feature on the show last week.

The 47-year-old carried out a virtual eye-lift on presenter Andrea McLean and a facelift on Colleen Nolan.

Panellists Brenda Edwards and Jane Moore received youthful aesthetic treatments including ‘virtual Botox’.

Gerard has embraced the exciting technology in response to Covid-19 restrictions which do not allow for any in-person consultations or non-essential surgery at present.

He said: “I was delighted to be approached by Loose Women. The panel were …

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Visualizing Layoffs at Prominent Startups Triggered by COVID-19

visualizing layoffs at prominent startups triggered by covid-19

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COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt—but after months of uncertainty, it seems that the situation is slowly taking a turn for the better.
Today’s chart measures the extent to which 41 major economies are reopening, by plotting two metrics for each country: the mobility rate and the COVID-19 recovery rate:

Mobility IndexThis refers to the change in activity around workplaces, subtracting activity around residences, measured as a percentage deviation from the baseline.
COVID-19 Recovery RateThe number of recovered cases in a country is measured as the percentage of total cases.

Data for the first measure comes from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which relies on aggregated, anonymous location history data from individuals. Note that China does not show up in the graphic as the government bans Google services.
COVID-19 recovery rates rely on values from CoronaTracker, using aggregated information from multiple global and governmental databases such as WHO and CDC.
Reopening Economies, One Step at a Time
In general, the higher the mobility rate, the more economic activity this signifies. In most cases, mobility rate also correlates with a higher rate of recovered people in the population.
Here’s how these countries fare based on the …

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Citizen scientists spot closest young brown dwarf disk yet

citizen scientists spot closest young brown dwarf disk yet

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This artist’s conception illustrates the brown dwarf named 2MASSJ22282889-431026. NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes observed the object to learn more about its turbulent atmosphere. Brown dwarfs are more massive and hotter than planets but lack the mass required to become sizzling stars. Their atmospheres can be similar to the giant planet Jupiter’s. Spitzer and Hubble simultaneously observed the object as it rotated every 1.4 hours. The results suggest wind-driven, planet-size clouds. Credit: NASA

Brown dwarfs are the middle child of astronomy, too big to be a planet yet not big enough to be a star. Like their stellar siblings, these objects form from the gravitational collapse of gas and dust. But rather than condensing into a star’s fiery hot nuclear core, brown dwarfs find a more zen-like equilibrium, somehow reaching a stable, milder state compared to fusion-powered stars.

Brown dwarfs are considered to be the missing link between the most massive gas giant planets and the smallest stars, and because they glow relatively dimly they have been difficult to spot in the night sky. Like stars, some brown dwarfs can retain the disk of swirling gas and dust left over from their initial formation. This material can collide and …

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Stereotaxis robotic technology referenced in ‘over 400 scientific publications’

stereotaxis robotic technology referenced in ‘over 400 scientific publications’

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Stereotaxis robotic technology referenced in ‘over 400 scientific publications’









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‘Ashamed’ Tim Cone says US leadership built ‘despicable’ racist culture | Inquirer Sports

‘ashamed’ tim cone says us leadership built ‘despicable’ racist culture | inquirer sports

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MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine team coach Tim Cone was among the latest to express his disgust toward racism particularly in the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
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The 46-year-old Floyd, an unarmed black man, died last week after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed.
The incident, the latest depiction of police brutality against people of color in the US, sparked Black Lives Matter protests in many cities in the country. Riots have also erupted in various cities as protesters clashed with the police.FEATURED STORIES
For the American mentor, it all boils down to leadership.
“All coaches/leaders develop a culture—good or bad, sometimes great, all of which reflect a team’s success,” Cone, the most celebrated coach in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association with 22 championships, tweeted Tuesday.
“The leadership of the U.S. has developed such a horrendous, despicable culture that it has led the country to hate, division and racism. I’ve never been more ashamed. #BLM (Black Lives Matter).”
On Monday, Gabe Norwood spearheaded a protest by Filipino-American PBA players on their social media platforms by taking a knee and holding …

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