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British scientists have found one of the largest black holes ever discovered



British astronomers have discovered one of the largest black holes ever discovered.

A team led by Durham University used gravitational lensing to find a supermassive black hole.

Gravitational lensing occurs when a celestial object has such a massive gravitational pull that it bends time and space around it, bending light from a more distant object and magnifying it.

They also used supercomputer simulations on the DiRAC integrated supercomputer facility, which allowed the researchers to study how light is bent by a black hole inside a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years away.


Artist’s impression of a black hole, where the black hole’s strong gravitational field distorts the space around it. This distorts the background light images almost directly behind it into sharp, circular rings. This gravitational “lensing” effect offers an observational method to infer the presence of black holes and measure their mass based on how large the deflection of light is. The Hubble Space Telescope is targeting distant galaxies whose light travels very close to the centers of intermediate foreground galaxies, which are expected to host supermassive black holes a billion times the mass of the Sun. (ESA/Hubble, Digitized Sky Survey, Nick Reisinger (, N. Bartmann)

A university release says the group has simulated light traveling through the universe hundreds of thousands of times, with each simulation involving a black hole of a different mass that changes the light’s path to Earth.

By including a supermassive black hole in one of their simulations, they found that the path traveled by light from the galaxy to Earth matches what is seen in real images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

They discovered a supermassive black hole in the foreground galaxy, an object with a mass more than 30 billion times that of the Sun.


Astronaut aboard a spaceship

An astronaut aboard the Atlantis spacecraft took this image from the Hubble Space Telescope on May 19, 2009. (NASA)

Durham University said it was the first black hole discovered using gravitational lensing. Durham University astronomer Professor Alastair Edge first noticed the giant arc of the gravitational lens while looking through images of the galaxy in 2004.

“Most of the largest black holes we know of are in an active state, when matter pulled close to the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation,” says lead author Dr. This is stated in a statement by James Nightingale.

Massive galaxy cluster RX J2129 is captured in this observation by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.  Due to gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova galaxy, which you can see here in more detail.  Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes enough space-time curvature to bend the path of light passing by or through it, almost like an enormous lens.  Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as seen in the concentric arcs of light in the upper right corner of this image.

Massive galaxy cluster RX J2129 is captured in this observation by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Due to gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova galaxy, which you can see here in more detail. Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes enough space-time curvature to bend the path of light passing by or through it, almost like an enormous lens. Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as seen in the concentric arcs of light in the upper right corner of this image. (ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P Kelly)

“However, gravitational lensing makes it possible to study inactive black holes, which is currently not possible in distant galaxies. This approach could allow us to detect many more black holes outside of our local universe and show how these exotic objects have evolved in cosmic time.” — said the professor of the physics department.


The results were published in a study also involving the Max Planck Institute in Germany, in a journal. Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices.

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Study finds vaccines and trust are key to preventing death from COVID



The United States has the dubious honor of suffering the highest COVID-19 death rate of any high-income country in the world. But that national average — 372 deaths per 100,000 people as of last summer — obscures the fact that pandemic outcomes have varied greatly from state to state.

In a comparison that took into account demographic differences between states, Arizona’s COVID-19 death rate of 581 deaths per 100,000 residents was almost four times higher than Hawaii’s, which had 147 deaths per 100,000 residents. The death rate in the hardest-hit US states resembled the death rate in countries with no health infrastructure at all. The top-performing states were on par with countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, which have been working hard to keep the death toll from the pandemic low.

What explains these huge differences? New research offers some intriguing answers.

The researchers found that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors were the strongest predictors of the state’s COVID-19 death toll. The higher the proportion of residents who identified themselves as black or Hispanic, the higher the poverty rate, the higher the proportion of residents without health insurance, and the lower the level of adult education, the more deaths per capita.

This may not be a big surprise. But the researchers also found that the more people in a state trust each other, the lower their collective risk of dying from COVID-19. This result highlights how growing divisions in America have made us especially vulnerable during the pandemic.

“How do we feel about another issue,” said the political scientist Thomas J. Bollyk, one of the lead authors of the study. “Solidarity between people—the feeling that others will do the right thing, and you don’t take advantage of it—is an important factor in your willingness to adopt defensive behavior.”

The report, published last week in the Lancet medical journal, is based on a dataset of the US pandemic from January 2020 to July 2022. Bollike called the event “the most comprehensive statement to date on the factors influencing pandemic outcomes.”

Dozens of researchers across the country have pulled data on state demographics before the pandemic, looking for ways in which their behavior and policies have diverged as the pandemic has evolved. To make direct comparisons across states, they created standardized infection and death rates that accounted for differences in factors associated with COVID, such as age and underlying health conditions of residents.

A map comparing cumulative COVID-19 death rates by state, standardized for differences in residents’ ages and underlying health conditions.

(Bolliki et al., The Lancet)

For example, California’s unadjusted COVID-19 death rate of 291 cases per 100,000 residents was lower than all but 11 states. But once studies took into account that the state has a relatively young population with a low prevalence of conditions that make people vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19, the death rate has risen to 418 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The authors of the study found that only 15 states fared worse.

Demographics told only part of the story. Political decisions also mattered.

Most states adopted some sort of mask-wearing and social distancing requirements early in the pandemic, but there were wide variations in how strict they were and how long they lasted. When the researchers assigned each state a “mandate propensity,” they found that states that scored high for implementing public health measures had lower rates of coronavirus infection.

California had the highest propensity for mandates, while Oklahoma had the lowest. The researchers calculated that if Oklahoma implemented masking and social distancing restrictions to the same extent as California, Oklahoma would have 32% fewer cases of coronavirus infection.

However, more aggressive public health measures have not resulted in a reduction in the death rate. The authors suggest that this is likely due to the fact that many elderly and sick people who are most likely to die if infected have taken steps to protect themselves, whether or not their state governments issued strict regulations.

The researchers also found that a state’s propensity to mandate had no effect on the health of its economy, as measured by its major domestic product. States with less mask use and fewer restaurants closed did have higher employment rates, but this additional economic activity came at a cost: every percentage point of increase in state employment was associated with 143 additional deaths per 100,000 residents.

No single factor was more important than “vaccinated man-days” – a measure of how the population of the state was vaccinatedand how early. The researchers estimate that if Alabama, which scores the lowest on this measure, achieved the vaccination coverage seen in Vermont, the highest-ranked state, there would have been 30% fewer infections and 35% fewer COVID deaths during the study period. -19. .

Another noteworthy finding, the authors write, is that vaccination requirements for civil servants, which have caused a lot of legal trouble, have been “distinguished” by their association with lower infection rates and fewer deaths.

Map comparing cumulative coronavirus infection rates by state.

Map comparing cumulative coronavirus infection rates by state, standardized to account for population differences.

(Bolliki et al., The Lancet)

The study highlights the tangible loss of the country’s “us versus them” mentality, which came to full fruition during the debate about mask-wearing in schools and vaccination requirements for government employees. We don’t really trust each other, which makes us less likely to do things to protect each other.

“Interpersonal trust” has been measured since the 1950s, and since the early 1990s, levels of this positive feeling towards others have dropped dramatically in the United States, said Bollike, head of the research center. Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. This trend was driven by deteriorating economic conditions for low-income people with higher education. It is especially low among black Americans and among those who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Trust in the federal government and trust in science have not been reported as major contributors to COVID-19 deaths. But trust in fellow citizens is strongly ingrained, Bollike said.

The links found during the study clearly indicate that the strengths and weaknesses that states use in a national emergency, as well as some of the policies they adopt to respond to a crisis, matter a lot, he said. Lawrence Gostinexpert in public health law at Georgetown University.

“This is strong evidence that governments have taken COVID seriously, used science and mitigated health inequalities,” Gostin said. “Much of the political rhetoric — that mandates don’t work and that justice isn’t important — has turned out to be wrong.”

According to him, the results of the study can be used to save lives long before the next pandemic. Dr. Stephen Wolfresearcher at Virginia Commonwealth University who tracks the health of Americans.

“Many of the same factors are affecting health right now,” Wolfe said.

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T. Rex lost his bite? A menacing growl might be wrong



NEW YORK (AP) – Tyrannosaurus rex is often depicted with massive, sharp teeth like a ferocious creature in Jurassic Park. But a new study suggests that this classic image may be wrong.

The teeth of Tyrannosaurus Rex and other large theropods were probably covered in scaly lips. a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The scientists found that the dinosaur’s teeth did not stick out when its mouth was closed, and even with a wide open bite, you could only see the tips.

The study is the latest in a long correspondence about what dinosaur mouths actually looked like.

Recent images show large teeth protruding from dinosaur jaws even when closed. Some thought the predators’ teeth were too big to fit in their mouths, said study author Thomas Cullen, a paleontologist at Auburn University in Alabama.

When the researchers compared the skulls of dinosaurs and living reptiles, they found that this was not the case. Some large monitor lizards have larger teeth than a Tyrannosaurus rex relative to the size of their skull, Cullen says, and they can still fit under the scaly lips.

The scientists also found clues in the wear patterns of tooth surfaces.

In a creature like a crocodile with teeth sticking out of its mouth, the open part wears out quickly — “like someone put a grinder to the tooth,” said study author Mark Whitton, a paleoartist at the University of England in England. Portsmouth.

But when the researchers analyzed the tooth of Daspletosaurus, a relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex, they found that it was in good condition and didn’t have that uneven pattern of damage.

With this evidence and other clues from dinosaur anatomy, the study provides a good basis for lipped tyrannosaurs, according to University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz, who was not involved in the study. However, “we are not talking about kissing lips,” he pointed out – they should be thin and scaly, like those of a Komodo dragon, a large lizard.

This isn’t the first time our depictions of dinosaurs have been questioned: other studies have shown that Tyrannosaurus Rex was more hunched over than we’re used to thinking, and that the ferocious Velociraptors likely wore feathers. Most of what we know about dinosaurs comes from their bones, but it can be harder to get clear answers about soft tissues like skin that aren’t usually preserved as fossils.

Adding lips can make dinosaurs less ferocious, but still more realistic, Witton says.

“You don’t really see the monster,” he said, “you see the animal.”


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science and Education Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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DNA from Beethoven’s hair reveals ill health and family secrets



We didn’t expect to find the genetic basis for Beethoven’s most widely publicized health problem – his hearing loss – and it turned out to be true. Beethoven had initial hearing loss in adultswhich is only occasionally associated with predominantly genetic causes.

However, other health problems plagued him over the years, especially gastrointestinal problems (pain and diarrhea) and liver disease.

Working with a group of medical geneticists at the University of Bonn, we did not find that Beethoven was particularly genetically susceptible to any particular gastrointestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or lactose intolerance (as some hypothesized). Our main discoveries are related to liver diseases.

We already knew from the documentation that Beethoven had bouts of jaundice. Begg’s work has now shown that Beethoven had two copies of a certain variant. PNPLA3 geneassociated with cirrhosis of the liver. He also had single copies of two variants of the gene that causes hemochromatosis, a disease that damages the liver.

Remarkably, the tests also showed that Beethoven was infected with the hepatitis B virus in the last months of his life (and possibly earlier). Hepatitis B infection could be common in Europe at the time, but details about it scanned.

What’s more, alcohol consumption may have exacerbated Beethoven’s risk of liver disease. There has been controversy regarding the extent and nature of his drinking, which is mentioned, but not quantified, in surviving records.

Begg carefully examined the recordings and concluded that Beethoven’s drinking was probably not exceptional. for time and placebut may have still been at levels now considered detrimental.

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