(TMU) — If you’ve ever lost of track of whether or not your child was vaccinated for any one of the diseases current vaccines are supposed to prevent the spread of, science has something for you.
Thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), vaccine data can now be embedded directly into human skin, as reported by Scientific American. What more could you want?
Maintaining accurate vaccination records is a challenge around the world—especially in the developing world—due to lost paperwork, communication and clerical errors, or simply forgetting. In fact, Smithsonian Magazine reports that “Inconsistent record keeping is thought to play a large role in the 1.5 million deaths“ each year.
Mark Prausnitz, a bioengineering professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology not involved in the study, explained:
“Especially in developing countries where medical records may not be as complete or as accessible, there can be value in having medical information directly associated with a person.”
Nancy Kass, a Johns Hopkins University bioethicist who wasn’t involved in the MIT study, said:
“Figuring out how to keep better track of vaccination is incredibly important from a health systems and public health perspective.”
The researchers use a dye that is invisible to the naked eye but can be seen with a—wait for it—mobile phone camera filter, much like a QR code. The dye would be injected into a child’s skin via microneedles at the time of vaccination and would last for up to five years.
The new system is still in the early stages of development and has not been tested on actual children, but it has successfully been used on both pig and rat skin as well as human skin in a dish.
According to MIT bioengineer Ana Jaklenec, the “biggest challenge” the researchers faced was finding a safe and long-lasting dye. After testing various dyes and finding none that held up after being exposed to sunlight, the research team settled on quantum dots. The tiny semiconducting crystals were first used by researchers to label cells and has been “shown to be safe in humans,” according to Scientific American.
Prausnitz also highlighted that a system like this must be discreet and the patient, or the patient’s family, must agree with the method. He believes this new system “is a pretty interesting way to accomplish those goals,” but that some patients may have privacy concerns when it come to “carrying around personal medical information on their bodies.”
“Different people and different cultures will probably feel differently about having an invisible medical tattoo.”
Klass also pointed out that this system of record keeping “could be ripe for misinterpretations and rumors,” especially in developing countries with a history of having been taken advantage of by Western medical powers.
But it turns out privacy was actually a concern of the MIT researchers. They aimed to avoid technology that would potentially cross a line into an invasion of privacy such as iris scans or databases with personal information that would render patients identifiable.
Though it doesn’t take much imagination to see where vaccine data embedded into skin via scannable dye may lead. Perhaps someday we’ll see infrared light scans at entrances to school buildings or as part of the TSA privacy invasion process when traveling.
Alternately, Ruchit Nagar, a student at Harvard Medical School, is hoping to create a different system for tracking medical information such as vaccination records. The system involves wearing a necklace that uses the same technology as radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. Information such as pregnancy history, growth charts, and vaccination records would be encrypted and password protected.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the MIT researcher’s work after a direct request from Bill Gates for such technology, and it was published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.
In the end, the researchers just “want people to be comfortable,” says study author and Rice University bioengineer Kevin McHugh.
“The goal is widespread adoption.”
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.