California lab says it discovered coronavirus vaccine in 3 hours
Scientists are racing to get the vaccine on the market in record time

An American biotech company says it created a coronavirus vaccine three hours after getting access to the virus’ genetic sequence in mid-January, and now scientists are racing to get the vaccine on the market in record time.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is based in Pennsylvania, but scientists in its laboratory in San Diego made the discovery.

“We were able to rapidly construct our vaccine in a matter of about three hours once we had the DNA sequence from the virus available because of the power of our DNA medicine platform,” Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s president and CEO, told FOX Business. “Our goal is to start phase one human testing in the U.S. early this summer.”

 

‘Significant breakthrough’ in race for coronavirus vaccine.

I hope it works out as advertised.

The scientist leading the UK’s research into a coronavirus vaccine says his team have made a significant breakthrough by reducing a part of the normal development time from “two to three years to just 14 days”.

Professor Robin Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, said he is now at the stage to start testing the vaccine on animals as early as next week with human studies in the summer if enough funding is secured.

He told Sky News: “Conventional approaches usually take at least two to three years before you even get to the clinic. And we’ve gone from that sequence to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.

“And we will have it in animal models by the beginning of next week. We’ve short-tracked that part. The next phase will be to move that from early animal testing into the first human studies.

“And we think with adequate funding we could do that in a period of a few months.”

Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser breaks eruption record, stuns scientists

Ah, just in case the scientists forgot. The Yellowstone Caldera is one of the largest volcanoes on the North American continent. Not that anyone can do anything about it, if it erupts again. Just me, but it appears that something’s “heating up” underneath.

If you’re headed to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, there’s a good chance that visiting the park’s iconic geysers will be near the top of your to-do list. In 2019, tourists were treated to plenty of activity from the Steamboat Geyser, which is the tallest currently-active geyser on the planet.

That’s great news for parkgoers and perhaps even for the park itself, but with over 45 eruptions in 2019, the geyser’s highly active streak is leaving scientists scratching their heads. The geyser erupted a whopping 32 times in 2018 before ramping up even further this year.

The most famous geyser at Yellowstone, and perhaps the world, is Old Faithful. Old Faithful is famous for its incredibly predictable schedule of eruptions, which makes it perfect for visits from tourists. Steamboat is different, often going quiet for long stretches before eventually roaring back to life.

As NPR reports, Steamboat Geyser didn’t erupt at all in 2015, 2016, or 2017. Park visitors weren’t treated to an eruption for three full years. 2018 was different, and 2019 has seen even more activity from the geyser. But why? Researchers can only guess.

“It’s such a big geyser. And the bigger something is, the easier it is to study,” Michael Manga of the University of California, Berkeley, told NPR. “But it also captures people’s imagination. When it got active again there was lots of press and it reminded people that there are fundamental things about the Earth we don’t understand.”

Of course, you can’t mention Yellowstone’s geysers without also mentioning the suspected supervolcano resting beneath the park. Researchers believe that a massive volcano erupted in Yellowstone around 631,000 years ago. Scientists believe it will eventually erupt again, though estimates of when that might occur often conflict.

‘Child’ gun deaths.

The gun control groups like to include all deaths through age 19 as children.  Here are the 2016 breakdowns by category and age.  Click to enlarge.

Accidental deaths (all firearms types)

Homicides (all firearms)

Suicides (all firearms)

None of these are wonderful, but notice that mostly these include the gang member age range: 15-19

Magazine Capacity Muckraking

Fewer people are killed when mass murderers use high capacity magazines? Unpossiber!

The capacity of a firearm magazine should not make anyone high. But given the hyperbole over “high capacity” magazines, I fear some politicians are positively stoned.

Whenever there is a mad rush to legislation, accompanied by exaggerated sound bites, we at the Gun Facts project just have to take a closer look. Research is our drug of choice.

Main Take-aways

  • Magazine capacity is only applicable to mass shootings
  • Mass shootings are rare events
  • Magazine capacity is not the underlying factor in high death rates
  • The number of people killed at mass shootings is a tiny fraction of homicides

The ‘X17’ particle: Scientists may have discovered the fifth force of nature
A new paper suggests that the mysterious X17 subatomic particle is indicative of a fifth force of nature.

As strange as it may seem, sub atomic particle physics have been of great interest to me.

In 2016, observations from Hungarian researchers suggested the existence of an unknown type of subatomic particle.
Subsequent analyses suggested that this particle was a new type of boson, the existence of which could help explain dark matter and other phenomena in the universe.
A new paper from the same team of researchers is currently awaiting peer review.

Physicists have long known of four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.

Now, they might have evidence of a fifth force.

The discovery of a fifth force of nature could help explain the mystery of dark matter, which is proposed to make up around 85 percent of the universe’s mass. It could also pave the way for a unified fifth force theory, one that joins together electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces as “manifestations of one grander, more fundamental force,” as theoretical physicist Jonathan Feng put it in 2016.

The new findings build upon a study published in 2016 that offered the first hint of a fifth force……………

The discovery of a fifth force of nature would provide a glimpse into the “dark sector”, which in general describes yet-unobservable forces that can’t readily be described by the Standard Model. Strangely, the subatomic particles in this hidden layer of our universe hardly interact with the more observable particles of the Standard Model.

A fifth force could scientists better understand how these two layers coexist.

“If true, it’s revolutionary,” Weng said in 2016. “For decades, we’ve known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.”

Theoretical tubulanes inspire ultrahard polymers
Rice University-printed sample is full of holes, but stops bullets better than solid materials

in other words, 3D printed armor.

HOUSTON – (Nov. 13, 2019) – A lightweight material full of holes is nearly as hard as diamond. The mere dents left by speeding bullets prove it.

Researchers at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering and their colleagues are testing polymers based on tubulanes, theoretical structures of crosslinked carbon nanotubes predicted to have extraordinary strength.

Tubulane-like polymer structures created at Rice University were better able to handle the impact of a bullet than the polymer reference cube at bottom right. The bullet stopped in approximately the second layer of the tubulane structures, with no significant structural damage observed beyond that layer. Bullets fired at the same speed sent cracks through the entire reference cube.

Tubulane-like polymer structures created at Rice University were better able to handle the impact of a bullet than the polymer reference cube at bottom right. The bullet stopped in approximately the second layer of the tubulane structures, with no significant structural damage observed beyond that layer. Bullets fired at the same speed sent cracks through the entire reference cube. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

The Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan found tubulanes can be mimicked as scaled-up, 3D-printed polymer blocks that prove to be better at deflecting projectiles than the same material without holes. The blocks are also highly compressible without breaking apart.

As detailed in Small, the discovery could lead to printed structures of any size with tunable mechanical properties.

Tubulanes were predicted in 1993 by chemist Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas and physicist Douglas Galvão of the State University of Campinas, Brazil, both co-principal investigators on the new paper. Tubulanes themselves have yet to be made, but their polymer cousins may be the next best thing.

Rice graduate student and lead author Seyed Mohammad Sajadi and his colleagues built computer simulations of various tubulane blocks, printed the designs as macroscale polymers and subjected them to crushing forces and speeding bullets. The best proved 10 times better at stopping a bullet than a solid block of the same material.

We may see Northern Lights from Seattle area on Wednesday night

Heads Up for our readers in Washington state.

If the clear, cold weather holds, Washingtonians on both sides of the mountains could be in for a rare treat when minor geomagnetic storms set the stage for a view of the Northern Lights on Wednesday night.

The 24-hour watch begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday and lasts through Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center. The best chances to see the phenomenon will be when it’s dark outside.

The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the result of electrons from a Coronal Mass Ejection or high-speed solar wind stream colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, according to NOAA.

Former NSC Director Says Climate Change is ‘Imaginary Threat’ Brainwashing Our Youth

William Happer failed at the chance of his lifetime.

A notorious climate change science skeptic, Happer, 80, recently left the Trump administration after the White House killed his plan to create a panel to challenge government assessments of global warming.

But Happer remains undeterred, confident that President Trump, the most vocal climate change skeptic to occupy the White House, is naturally inclined to come around to the idea……………

Happer drew outrage in 2014 for declaring in an interview that “demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”

Happer said the statement “was not meant to be in any way anti-Semitic” but that he was sorry he said it.

Nevertheless, he stood by the comparison, invoking his father’s service in the Scottish military in World War II to say that he feels strongly about opposing “fanaticism.”

In keeping up the fight against the mainstream of climate science, Happer faces opposition among an increasing number of Republicans who fear that the party will not be viable if it does not change to appeal to climate-conscious voters, especially young people.

He said he’s held his views on climate change since the early 1990s when he served as director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in the George H.W. Bush administration.

“I feel bad about the younger generation,” said Happer, who has six grandchildren ranging from middle school- to college-age. “They have been brainwashed. The people who think this is a winning election issue are wrong.”

After leaving his post as a National Security Council senior director, Happer has returned to Princeton, where he is an emeritus physics professor.

He’s also rejoined the CO2 Coalition, an advocacy group he founded that claims rising levels of carbon will benefit the world.

Harbor Freight Tools Recalls Gordon Folding Knives Due to Laceration Hazard

Recalled Harbor Freight Gordon brand folding knives

Recall Details

This recall involves Gordon brand folding knives. The knife is stainless steel with black metal on the handle and five cutouts on each side of the handle. The knife measures about 3-inches. The knife also has a silver-colored metal belt clip attached to the back of the handle. “China” is printed on one side and “Stainless Steel” is printed on the other side of the knife blade.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled knives and return them to a Harbor Freight Tools store for a full refund in the form of a $5 store gift card plus sales tax.

Harbor Freight Tools has received seven reports of the knife failing to lock, resulting in six reports of laceration injuries, including four that required medical attention.

‘There Is No Climate Emergency’: Scientists Call for Reasoned Debate

The message was clear: “There is no climate emergency.”

With those five simple words, a global network of scientists and professionals attempted to inject reasonableness and decorum into what should be a robust discussion about a complex scientific and public policy issue, but has instead degenerated into an ever more intense mud-slinging contest over the years.

People on one side of the argument dismiss their opponents as wild-eyed socialists attempting to leverage public fear and ignorance to further their political agenda. On the opposite side, people dismiss those who disagree with their supposedly settled scientific conclusions as nothing more than knowing shills or ignorant dupes of evil energy interests.

In between those extremes that are so popular with armies of public relations professionals, who shape the messages of public interest groups and professional politicians to maximum effect, are a not-so-quiet silent majority of scientists and professionals who take a more measured, reasoned view of the science when considering the supposed climate emergency some say we’re facing.

A group of 500-some scientists and professionals signed on to the “European Climate Declaration” that was released last week. This simple, short, and understandable statement proposed how analysis of any public policy issue involving complex science should be approached from a reasoned, fact-based perspective………

In a letter sent to António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, the leaders of the European Climate Declaration urged the U.N. to “follow a climate policy based on sound science, realistic economics, and genuine concern for those harmed by costly but unnecessary attempts at mitigation.”

Hundreds of scientists and professionals from 13 European nations signed on to the Declaration, supported by fellow signatories from 10 other countries outside the European Union. I was honored to be asked to be one of the signatories from the United States and most enthusiastically agreed to do so.

There is likely to be much criticism of the professional qualifications of many of the signatories, since many, like me, are not climatologists. And yet, so many people speaking out on the issue of climate change who are convinced there is a climate emergency have so little personal understanding of the science involved in the discussion.

NASA: Climate Changes Due To Shifts In Solar Orbit, Not Human Activity

According to NASA scientists, so-called “climate change” is mostly driven by factors unrelated to human activity. A past study by the agency found the Sun has been the main factor behind changes in the Earth’s climate over the past 1,000 years.

Scientists say our planet’s solar orbit has changed several times over the past centuries. This resulted in a warmer climate in the Middle Ages, or medieval period, and a global cooling in the 14th Century known as the Little Ice Age.

NASA’s findings suggest so-called “man-made climate change” is a political narrative to impose economic control over the global population. The agency has reportedly known about this since 1958. However, its findings seem to have been buried in the archives, while the global push of climate advocacy has taken the forefront of world politics.

According to NASA scientists, so-called “climate change” is mostly driven by factors unrelated to human activity. A past study by the agency found the Sun has been the main factor behind changes in the Earth’s climate over the past 1,000 years.

Scientists say our planet’s solar orbit has changed several times over the past centuries. This resulted in a warmer climate in the Middle Ages, or medieval period, and a global cooling in the 14th Century known as the Little Ice Age.

NASA’s findings suggest so-called “man-made climate change” is a political narrative to impose economic control over the global population. The agency has reportedly known about this since 1958. However, its findings seem to have been buried in the archives, while the global push of climate advocacy has taken the forefront of world politics.

NASA emails reveal a very near-miss from a “city-killer” asteroid

This is the “Extinction Level Event” that climate change prodigy Greta Thunberg should really worry about

Climate change prodigy Greta Thunberg spent the better portion of a week recounting her fears of mass extinction to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.

However, emails from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reveal that we very nearly had a significant and catastrophic climate change event for which humankind could hardly be blamed.

Internal emails from NASA show that the space agency was unaware of asteroid 2019 OK, described as a “city killer,” until the last moment on July 24.

The giant, football field-sized space rock was not detected by researchers until 24 hours before it was set to whiz past Earth at a distance of just 48,000 miles, traveling at 55,000 miles per hour.

“Because there may be media coverage tomorrow, I’m alerting you that in about 30 mins a 57-130 meter sized asteroid will pass Earth at only 0.19 lunar distances (~48,000 miles),” Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer, wrote in a July 24 email, adding the asteroid “was spotted about 24 hrs ago.”

Paul Chodas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory indicated that the asteroid managed to slip through NASA’s tracking systems.

“This object slipped through a whole series of our capture nets,” he stated in an email to his colleagues. “I wonder how many times this situation has happened without the asteroid being discovered at all.”

NASA’s failure to spot 2019 OK sooner is certainly alarming especially since the agency has constantly stressed the importance of early detection in preventing an asteroid impact from happening. Hopefully, the space agency will implement better systems that are capable of tracking all asteroids that might approach Earth.

How many billions of dollars have been squandered by climate change activists and politicians, diverted to useless global warming projects and to ineffective energy technologies?

All of those resources, including the scientific research and experimentation, that have been used on “climate change” could be going to projects that could help us detect asteroids that really present a threat to this planet.

With this in mind, perhaps it now makes sense that NASA Administrators have just announced that the agency is planning to launch a space telescope to watch for hazardous asteroids as part of itsplanetary defense strategy.

The telescope will use infrared radiation to detect the heat of rocks hurtling through space. For now, NASA administrators are calling it the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission (NEOSM).

“This is a great step forward for thinking about human destiny, because the dinosaurs certainly did not have an asteroid survey program to protect themselves,” Richard Binzel, an asteroid researcher and professor of planetary sciences at MIT, told Business Insider. “Having knowledge of what’s out there is something that the planetary science community has been advocating for for nearly 30 years. So this is a breakthrough decades in the making.”

NASA’s new mission is expected to cost between $500 million and $600 million. It could launch as early as 2025, though that’s not an official timeline.

NASA has been steadily increasing its work in the area of planetary defense. Interestingly, an experiment for an asteroid killer is planned for 2021.

…This program received $60 million in funding for fiscal year 2017, $76 million for 2018 and it expects to receive $150 million in 2020. Figures for 2019 were not available because budgets had not been passed, according to NASA’s budget report.

The agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission, which aims to “change the motion of an asteroid in space,” receives the bulk of planetary defense funding. DART functions by crashing into potentially dangerous asteroids at a speed of approximately 6.6 kilometers per second, or 14,764 mph, with the aim of changing the speed of the incoming asteroid.

A DART demonstration will occur in 2021 and will impact an asteroid of comparable size to that which passed the Earth in July — roughly 160 meters across. This is, according to NASA, “more typical of the size of the asteroids that could pose the most likely significant threat to the Earth.”

Personally, I would love to see this effort paired with the development of even more asteroid killing technologies from the U.S. Space Force.

While Greta jets around the world scolding Western civilization for its climate sins, American scientists and servicemen and women are working to protect us all from a real Extinction Level Event.

Mummies with Heart Disease: A Mass-Killer with Ancient Origins

Scientists studying ancient mummies found modern heart disease is an ancient human killer.

All over the world heart disease is one of nature’s most effective devices of population control and one of the leading human killers in the Western world. Modern diets and sedentary lifestyles leading to obesity are largely blamed for the disease in modern culture but a new University of Texas study, published in the American Heart Journal , found cholesterol buildup in the arteries of five mummies dating back to 2000 BC.

While heart disease is a number one killer in the US today causing about a quarter of Americans’ deaths every year, scanning the preserved arteries of ancient mummies revealed that heart disease and high cholesterol have for a long time been part of the human condition. Although processed high-fat foods leading to high-cholesterol are so often blamed for heart disease today, this new study found signs of the same kind of cholesterol-clogged arteries seen in modern humans, in the arteries of ancient mummies.

DNA Is Held Together By Hydrophobic Forces

“….for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Keep trying to convince me that this complexity is merely the result of random insensate chance.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, disprove the prevailing theory of how DNA binds itself. It is not, as is generally believed, hydrogen bonds which bind together the two sides of the DNA structure. Instead, water is the key. The discovery opens doors for new understanding in research in medicine and life sciences. The researchers’ findings are presented in the journal PNAS.

DNA is constructed of two strands, consisting of sugar molecules and phosphate groups. Between these two strands are nitrogen bases, the compounds which make up organisms’ genes, with hydrogen bonds between them. Until now, it was commonly thought that those hydrogen bonds were what held the two strands together.

But now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology show that the secret to DNA’s helical structure may be that the molecules have a hydrophobic interior, in an environment consisting mainly of water. The environment is therefore hydrophilic, while the DNA molecules’ nitrogen bases are hydrophobic, pushing away the surrounding water. When hydrophobic units are in a hydrophilic environment, they group together, to minimise their exposure to the water.

The role of the hydrogen bonds, which were previously seen as crucial to holding DNA helixes together, appear to be more to do with sorting the base pairs, so that they link together in the correct sequence.

The discovery is crucial for understanding DNA’s relationship with its environment.

“Cells want to protect their DNA, and not expose it to hydrophobic environments, which can sometimes contain harmful molecules,” says Bobo Feng, one of the researchers behind the study. “But at the same time, the cells’ DNA needs to open up in order to be used.”

“We believe that the cell keeps its DNA in a water solution most of the time, but as soon as a cell wants to do something with its DNA, like read, copy or repair it, it exposes the DNA to a hydrophobic environment.”

Reproduction, for example, involves the base pairs dissolving from one another and opening up. Enzymes then copy both sides of the helix to create new DNA. When it comes to repairing damaged DNA, the damaged areas are subjected to a hydrophobic environment, to be replaced. A catalytic protein creates the hydrophobic environment. This type of protein is central to all DNA repairs, meaning it could be the key to fighting many serious sicknesses……………

The researchers studied how DNA behaves in an environment which is more hydrophobic than normal, a method they were the first to experiment with.

They used the hydrophobic solution polyethylene glycol, and step-by-step changed the DNA’s surroundings from the naturally hydrophilic environment to a hydrophobic one. They aimed to discover if there is a limit where DNA starts to lose its structure, when the DNA does not have a reason to bind, because the environment is no longer hydrophilic. The researchers observed that when the solution reached the borderline between hydrophilic and hydrophobic, the DNA molecules’ characteristic spiral form started to unravel.

Upon closer inspection, they observed that when the base pairs split from one another (due to external influence, or simply from random movements), holes are formed in the structure, allowing water to leak in. Because DNA wants to keep its interior dry, it presses together, with the base pairs coming together again to squeeze out the water. In a hydrophobic environment, this water is missing, so the holes stay in place.

Archaeology Confirms Book of Genesis on Israel’s Arch-Nemesis, The Edomites

This unexpected conclusion was reached by studying that precious source of evidence in modern archaeology: ancient garbage.

Specifically, a team of researchers analyzed slag, the waste left over from metal smelting, at ancient copper production sites in the Aravah Valley, a region that spans the southern deserts of Israel and Jordan and was once the heartland of the Edomite nation.

The team of American, Israeli and Jordanian archaeologists found that people at different sites in the Aravah were producing metal using the same standardized techniques, which improved and advanced in parallel, more than 3,000 years ago. This, the archaeologists say, is a sign that there was a strong, centralized entity that coordinated copper production over vast distances: in other words, a state.

And this in turn would mean that the Edomite kingdom was already formed by the mid-11th century B.C.E., some 300 years earlier than previously thought, the archaeologists conclude in a paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS One.

A Modest Reaction to HARPA

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Cooke, add the ‘/sarc’ tag

The Washington Post reports:

The White House is considering a controversial proposal to study whether mass shootings could be prevented by monitoring mentally ill people for small changes that might foretell violence.

Former NBC Chairman Bob Wright, a longtime friend and associate of President Trump’s, has briefed top officials, including the president, the vice president and Ivanka Trump, on a proposal to create a new research agency called HARPA to come up with out-of-the-box ways to tackle health problems, much like DARPA does for the military, say several people who have briefed.

. . .

Advisers to Wright quickly pulled together a three-page proposal — called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes – which calls for exploring whether technology like phones and smart watches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.

At first, I was horrified by this idea. But then I remembered that it’s “time for leadership” and that we have to “do something,” and all my objections disappeared upon the instant. Sure, there are obvious Fourth Amendment problems here. But, when you think about it, there’s no way that the Founding Fathers could have imagined cell phones or smart watches (where exactly does the Constitution mention them!?) — and, anyway, if you read the Fourth Amendment’s text you’ll notice that it uses the same “right of the people” language as does the Second Amendment, and that it should therefore be read to apply not to individuals but collectively.

The question we have to ask here is whether the freedom to use a high-bandwidth telephone is really more important than the lives of our kids. As the Trump administration has made clear, HARPA wouldn’t ban cell phones outright; it would just impose some common sense safety regulations on their use. What’s the problem? As one of the project’s architects has asked:

“To those who say this is a half-baked idea, I would say, ‘what’s your idea? What are you doing about this?’ ” said Geoffrey Ling, the lead scientific adviser on the HARPA proposal.

Exactly!