Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for April 11, 2020

in STEMGeekslast year

A Steem essay reports on new research finding asthma benefits from keto (low-carb) diets; IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; Lessons for leaders from the COVID-19 pandemic; Astronomers find black-hole bending light back on itself at a black hole's accretion disk; and a paper seeks to explain how jugglers seem to defy limits on human reaction times


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  1. Steem @doitvoluntarily: New Study Suggests Keto Lifestyle Might Help Asthma Symptoms - According to a 2016 estimate, 300 million people are effected by asthma, and 1,000 people die from it every day, including 10 people in the United States. Now an article in Cell, Lipid-Droplet Formation Drives Pathogenic Group 2 Innate Lymphoid Cells in Airway Inflammation, reports that low-carb diets may help asthma-sufferers by reducing inflammation in the airways. In future research, scientists will also investigate whether low-carb diets reduce the frequency or severity of asthma flare-ups. As-of now, the most popular therapies for asthma are inhaled corticosteroids, but some research has indicated that these inhalers may be responsible for as many as 80% of asthma-related deaths. The article lists a number of potential benefits from low-carb diets, saying:
    From preventing cognitive decline, to tackling individual inflammation, or getting rid of unwanted weight etc, it's believed that there might be a wide range of possible benefits that could be reaped from going keto.
    But it also notes that the diet also has its share of critics. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @doitvoluntarily.)

  2. Video Friday: Quadruped Robot Learns Locomotion Skills by Imitating Dog - IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos contains videos showing: A quadruped robot from Berkeley that learns to walk by using reinforcement learning to imitate real dogs; Insect-inspired flexoskeletons from UCSD; A robotic arm that helps with the cooking in a robotics engineer's home; Flying drones and four-wheel autonomous and semi-autonomous robots that use UV germicidal light to disinfect spaces; The Tertill robot from Franklin Robotics can weed your garden; and more...

    Here is a robot from NASA that can help search for life in the oceans of other wordls

  3. What Are Lessons for Leaders from This Black Swan Crisis? - Subtitle: Is it possible to prepare for a Black Swan event like COVID-19? What are the lessons for leaders in today's pandemic? asks James Heskett. In this post, Heskett, a Harvard Professor, discusses The Black Swan, a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He defines a Black Swan as an event that exhibits "rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability", and goes on to argue that the current pandemic fits the definition. Although it was known that pandemics happen regularly, he notes that no one could have predicted the specifics of the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of learning from this pandemic can be seen from the fact that businesses have spent immense amounts of money on strategic planning during the last couple years, and those expenses have come to naught as 80% of businesses have been forced to close and the remaining 20% are operating at levels beyond their previous capacity. As a result, he says that businesses should shift a good deal of their planning to making preparations for the unknowable. Almost all of these events, he said will have extreme effects on demand for their products, and as a result there are generic contingency plans that can be made and executed. He also notes that Black Swan events increasingly have a very predictable characteristic, which is that they are multinational in scope. Against this background, the article provides a number of questions that contingency planners should begin asking in order to prepare for future Black Swan occurrences.

  4. This weird black hole is bending light back on itself like a boomerang - Scientists used data that was collected between 1995 and 2012 from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer to observe a phenomenon that was predicted in the 1970s, but never before seen. In particular, the astronomers focused their research on the accretion disk, and were able to see light that was on the verge of escaping from the black hole, but instead reversed direction and got pulled back into it. The paper, Evidence for Returning Disk Radiation in the Black Hole X-ray Binary XTE J1550−564, was posted as a pre-print on arXiv, and it has been accepted for publication by The Astrophysical Journal. -h/t RealClear Science

  5. Scientists ponder how jugglers seem to defy limits to human reaction times - Subtitle: The accuracy required is a measure of how unstable and difficult a juggling pattern is. - The fastest jugglers catch objects at a speed of 500 per minute, or 120 ms per catch. This is faster than world-class tennis players, whose reaction time is on the order of 200 ms. In a recent article, biomechanical researchers try to explain why. The authors admit that they still don't fully understand the phenomenon, but they suggest that it arises from the control that jugglers are able to execute over the entire environment by altering the height and speed of the objects they throw. Higher tosses give the jugglers more time between balls, but they also make it harder to target accurately. In contrast, lower tosses are easier to target, but they arrive at their destination sooner. It seems that expert jugglers are good at optimizing those trade-offs. -h/t RealClear Science

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thx for the mention !:)