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How can we prevent mass shootings?




One question for Maurizio Porfiri another Ryan Sukar, Dynamic Systems Engineers at New York University. Porfiry directs the New York University Dynamical Systems Laboratory and the Center for Urban Science and Progress. Sukkar is an engineering graduate student in the Porfiry Lab, specializing in complex systems and network sciences.

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Left photo courtesy of Maurizio Porfiri; right photo courtesy of Ryan Sukkar

How to prevent mass shootings?

MAuricio Porfiri: Our work supports a “no notoriety” approach, whereby we want to dry up the news of mass shootings – limit the amount of detail – and try to separate the presentation of news of mass shootings from the publicity it may receive.

If we provide too many details, then if I’m someone who’s trying to get publicity, I’ll use those details to plan an attack that you don’t expect, something the public doesn’t know about. We find in our new study that the more mass shootings differ from previous history, the more they attract the attention of the public. It seems that the glory-seeking mass shootings are not aiming for a large number of deaths, but are trying to stand out in other ways.

Ryan Sukar: We measure fame by looking at Wikipedia. So for each survey, we see how many people have visited that Wikipedia page over time. We controlled for the number of casualties and casualties and found no correlation between surprise and fatality for glory-seeking mass shooters. Therefore, they see surprise as a path to glory that does not depend on the number of deaths.

We want to dry up news of mass shootings.

Porphyry: From this point of view, it can help to set good benchmarks and practice getting the media talking about mass shootings. From a proactive standpoint, this adds some level of vigilance, which is associated with red flag laws. Red flag laws, which can strip a firearm from a person who appears to be a danger to themselves or others, have to do with some hint that some event, however unlikely, might happen and it would be a good idea to take action. on this occasion. When people think about trying to become famous through mass shootings, they look at the details of past mass shootings and try to distinguish themselves so that they don’t look the same.

Let’s say you hear about something that to you is like, “Oh no, no one has ever done that. So maybe it won’t happen.” No, even pay attention to these details, report them, and we must act in accordance with the red flag laws to prevent any possible mass shootings that may occur.

Featured Image: Mustache Peony / Shutterstock


How to Spy on Condor Parents with a High-Tech Egg



For two months this spring, a pair of Californian condors carefully cared for one huge egg. They took turns perching on the egg to keep it warm and turning the egg regularly, which was thought to help proper development of chicks.

What birds, part breeding population the Oregon Zoo didn’t seem to notice that the egg was a high-tech scam. A 3D-printed plastic shell was filled with sensors designed to covertly monitor conditions inside a condor nest.

For several weeks, the artificial egg monitored the temperature of the nest, recorded the behavior of birds turning eggs, and recorded ambient sound. The zoo hopes this data will allow it to better replicate natural conditions in the artificial incubators that play a key role in its condor breeding efforts.

California condors, which can have a wingspan of almost 10 feet, endangered. So every year, when the birds lay their eggs, the zoo takes them from the nest to safe hatcheries. This strategy has several advantages, encouraging some couples to lay a second egg, allowing the zoo to monitor embryo development, and protecting fragile embryos from condor rampage.

“During the breeding season, tensions tend to escalate,” says Kelly Walker, senior condor keeper at the zoo. “And sometimes pairs fight in the nesting room and accidentally injure the egg.” (The chicks return to the nest when they start to hatch.)

The more accurately the zoo can reproduce the natural conditions in the incubators, the more successful it will be. So Ms. Walker hired Scott Shaffer, an animal ecologist and bird researcher at San Jose State University, and Constance Woodman, an ornithologist and conservation technology expert at Texas A&M University, who together created smart eggs to record data for many different birds. variety.

Here’s how they created the condor eggs:

Dr. Woodman has created a digital model of a simulated condor egg. The shell needed to be thin enough to allow internal sensors to detect temperature changes, yet tough enough to withstand potential bird violence. (A macaw once threw one of Dr. Woodman’s eggs out of its nest two stories above the ground.) To keep the egg from opening, she designed threaded shell halves that screwed tightly together. “It will stay closed if you don’t have thumbs,” she said. “Birds don’t have thumbs, so we’re in good shape.”

Dr. Woodman used a 3D printer loaded with plastic specially chosen to be safe for birds, which can sit on their eggs for months. “I really, really, really don’t want to poison a bird in the best of intentions,” she said. Each shell took 13 hours to print.

To ensure that the egg does not tend to spin or wobble, Dr. Woodman gave it to Loretta, her potty-trained “home turkey,” she said. “If Loretta doesn’t like it, she won’t sit on it.”

The color of bird eggs varies by species, and Dr. Woodman and Dr. Shaffer always tries to reproduce it as accurately as possible. To match the subtle blue-green hue of the condor eggs, Dr. Woodman dipped the shells into a jar of non-toxic dye intended for children’s clothing.

Small data loggers hidden inside the shell can track the temperature and movement of the eggs. The audio recorder records the sounds in the nest, which the zoo plays for the eggs in the incubator. “Developing embryos can hear through their membranes,” Ms Walker said. And she used duct tape to cover the light bulbs on the electronics, “otherwise it would look like a flashing Christmas egg.”

Some birds refuse abnormally light eggs. So Ms. Walker used a hot glue gun to attach rocks to the inside of the egg, bringing it down to over half a pound.

The first condor parents to receive a smart egg this year were a female known only as number 762 and her partner Alishaw. “He’s not what you would call a traditionally fantastic father,” Ms Walker said. “He’ll incubate for as long as he needs to, but he’s not thrilled about it.” (However, 762’s loyalty to him remains unwavering. “She kind of rides or dies with Alishaw,” Ms Walker said.)

When both birds left the nest, the zoo staff moved their real egg to an incubator and replaced it with a fake one. The condors didn’t seem to notice. (Their chick, which has since hatched, returned to its parents and is doing well, Ms Walker said.)

When the breeding season ends, Dr. Shaffer and Ms. Walker will analyze the data. The findings will inform future hatchery settings, and the team hopes will help bring more California condor chicks out into the world safely. “It’s just a very cool use of technology that will only get better,” says the doctor. Shaffer said.

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The DNA you’ve lost can identify you



The following essay is reprinted with permission. Talkonline publication dedicated to the latest research.

Human DNA can be sequenced from small amounts of water, sand and air in the environment to potentially extract identifiable information like genetic background, gender and health risks, according to our new study.

Every cell of the body contains DNA. Because each person has a unique genetic code, DNA can be used to identify individuals. Typically, practitioners and researchers obtain human DNA through direct sampling, such as blood tests, swabs, or biopsies. However, all living beings, including animals, plants and microbes, constantly shedding DNA. Water, soil and even air contain microscopic particles of the biological material of living organisms.

The DNA that an organism releases into the environment is called ecological DNA or eDNA. Over the past couple of decades, scientists have been able to collect and sequence eDNA from soil or water samples in monitoring of biodiversity, populations of wild animals another pathogens. Tracking rare or elusive endangered species through their eDNA has been a boon to researchers, as traditional monitoring methods such as observation or trapping can be difficult, often unsuccessful, and intrusive to the species of interest.

Researchers using eDNA tools usually only focus on the species they are studying and ignore the DNA of other species. However, people so shedcough and flush DNA into their environment. And as our team of geneticists says, ecologists another marine biologists V Duffy’s lab found at the University of Florida, signs of human life can be found everywhere but in the most isolated places.

Animals, humans and viruses in eDNA

Our team uses environmental DNA to study endangered sea turtles and viral tumors to which they are subject. Tiny hatchling sea turtles lose their DNA as they crawl along the shore on their way to the ocean shortly after birth. Sand scooped from their footprints contains enough DNA to provide valuable information about tortoises and chelonid herpesviruses and fibropapillomatous tumors affecting them. Scoop up a liter tank water a recovering sea turtle under veterinary care equally provides a wealth of genetic information for research. Unlike blood or skin samples, eDNA collection does not stress the animal.

Genetic sequencing technology The methods used to decipher DNA have improved rapidly in recent years and it is now possible to easily sequence the DNA of each organism in an environmental sample. Our team suspected that the sand and water samples we used to study sea turtles might also contain DNA from a number of other species, including, of course, humans. that we didn’t know that how informative the human DNA we could extract would be like this.

To find out, we took samples from a variety of places in Florida, including the ocean and rivers in urban and rural areas, sand from isolated beaches, and a remote island not normally visited by humans. We found human DNA in all of these locations, except for the remote island, and these samples were of high enough quality for analysis and sequencing.

We also tried this technique in Ireland, following a river that flows from a remote mountaintop, through small rural villages, and into the sea in a larger city of 13,000 people. We have found human DNA everywhere except in a remote mountain tributary where a river flows, away from human habitation.

We also took air samples from a room at our Florida Wildlife Veterinary Hospital. The people present in the room allowed us to take air samples. We recovered DNA matching DNA from humans, the animal patient, and common animal viruses present at the time of collection.

Surprisingly, the human eDNA found in the local environment was intact enough for us to be able to identify mutations associated with the disease and determine the genetic origins of people living in the area. DNA sequencing, left by volunteers in the form of footprints in the sand, even made it possible to identify part of their sex chromosomes.

Ethical implications of human eDNA collection

Our team duplicates the unintentional extraction of human DNA from environmental samples “Human genetics by catch”. We call for a deeper discussion on how to ethically handle the human DNA of the environment.

Human EDNA could provide significant advances in research in areas as diverse as conservation, epidemiology, forensics, and agriculture. If handled correctly, human eDNA could help archaeologists track down unexplored ancient human settlementsallow biologists Monitoring cancer mutations in a given population or provide law enforcement useful forensic information.

However, there are many ethical implications associated with the unintentional or intentional collection and analysis of human genetic by-catch. Identifiable information can be retrieved from eDNA and access to this level of detail on individuals or populations is responsibilities related to consent and confidentiality.

Although we conducted our study with the approval of our institutional review boardwhich guarantees that human research complies with the ethical principles of research, there is no guarantee that everyone will treat this type of information ethically.

Many questions arise regarding the human DNA of the environment. For example, who should have access to human eDNA sequences? Should this information be publicly available? Is consent required before human eDNA sampling and from whom? Should researchers remove human genetic information from samples originally collected to identify other species?

We believe it is critical to put in place policies that ensure that data is collected, analyzed and stored ethically and appropriately. Policy makers, the scientific community, and other stakeholders must take the collection of human eDNA seriously and balance consent and privacy with the possible benefits of studying eDNA. Raising these questions now can help ensure that everyone is aware of the potential of eDNA and allow more time to develop protocols and regulations to ensure the proper use of eDNA techniques and the ethical management of human genetic by-catch.

This article was originally published on Talk. Read original article.

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Powerful cyclone floods homes, cuts communications in western Myanmar; at least 6 dead, 700 injured



DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Rescuers on Monday evacuated about 1,000 people stranded in 3.6 meters (12 feet) deep seawater along Myanmar’s west coast after a powerful cyclone injured hundreds and cut communications. Six deaths have been reported, but the true impact is not yet clear in one of Asia’s least developed countries.

According to the leader of the Sittwe Rakhine Youth Benevolent Association, the strong winds injured more than 700 of the approximately 20,000 people who were sheltering in the more durable buildings in Sittwe’s highlands, such as monasteries, pagodas and schools. He asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from the authorities of a country ruled by the military.

More than 10 low-lying areas offshore were exposed to sea water when Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Rakhine state on Sunday afternoon, he said. Residents moved to rooftops and upper floors, and wind and storm surge prevented immediate rescue.

“Yesterday after 16:00 the storm weakened a little, but the water did not subside. Most of them sat on the rooftops and high ground of their houses all night. The wind blew all night,” said the head of the rescue team.

Water was still at about 1.5 meters (5 feet) in flooded areas later on Monday, but rescue work was carried out when the wind died down and the sun rose in the sky. He asked civil society organizations and authorities to send aid and help evacuate residents.

Myanmar media and rescue teams reported six dead. Several injuries were reported in neighboring Bangladesh, which avoided a predicted direct hit.

Mocha made landfall near the town of Sittwe as winds reached 209 kilometers (130 miles) per hour, according to the Myanmar Meteorological Department. It had turned into a tropical depression by Monday afternoon, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.

The State Administration Council has declared a natural disaster for 17 townships in Rakhine State.

High winds destroyed cell towers, but videos compiled by local media before the loss of communication showed deep water rushing through the streets and the wind blowing roofs off.

The Myanmar Military Information Authority said the hurricane damaged houses and electrical transformers in the villages of Sittwe, Kyaukpyu and Gwa. It says the roofs were blown off buildings in the Cocos Islands, about 425 kilometers (264 miles) southwest of the country’s largest city, Yangon.

Volunteers have previously said shelters in Sittwe are running out of food after more people have arrived looking for help.

Mocha largely spared the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar, which was originally in the storm’s intended path. Authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people before the cyclone turned east.

Bangladeshi government spokesman Enamur Rahman said damage was still being assessed, but about 2,000 houses were destroyed and another 10,000 were damaged in St. Martin’s Island and Teknaf in the Cox’s Bazar district.

He said no deaths were reported.

About a dozen people were injured on the island of St. Martin, according to the Prothom Alo newspaper.

UN agencies and aid workers in Bangladesh have prepared tons of dry food and dozens of ambulances in advance in refugee camps that are home to more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar with a storm surge that devastated communities around the Ayeyarwaddy Delta. At least 138,000 people died and tens of thousands of homes and other structures were washed away.

Roxy Matthew Call, a climatologist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, says cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are becoming more intense, partly due to climate change.

Climate scientists say cyclones can now store their energy for many days. Cyclone Amphan in eastern India in 2020 continued to travel overland as a major cyclone and caused widespread destruction.

“As long as the oceans are warm and the winds are favorable, cyclones will maintain their intensity for a longer period,” Call said.

Tropical cyclones, referred to elsewhere as hurricanes or typhoons, are among the world’s most devastating natural disasters when they hit densely populated coastal areas.

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