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Millions of 15-Minute Coronavirus Home Testing Kits Will Be Available to UK Public ‘Within Days’

The test will also detect if there are high levels of IGG, which is indicative of whether someone has already had CoViD-19.

Elias Marat

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Coronavirus Home Testing Kits

(TMU) — New 15-minute home coronavirus tests will soon be available over the counter or via home delivery within days in the U.K., according to public health authorities, in a move that could see the country make vast strides toward tampering down fears and restoring some normalcy amid the ongoing pandemic.

The Guardian reports that millions of the test kits could be available as soon as next week, allowing people with symptoms who are self-isolating to find out if they have been infected through a simple device—similar to an OTC pregnancy test—that involves pricking a finger and analyzing a drop of blood for IGM, an antibody which appears in the early stages of infection.

The test will also detect IGG, which increases as the body responds to the novel virus and is indicative of whether someone has had CoViD-19 and thus has some degree of immunity.

The British government has already purchased 3.5 million of the tests and has plans to order millions more.

Prof. Sharon Peacock, director of the national infection service at Public Health England (PHE), told members of parliament on the science and technology committee that the government is waiting for the tests to be evaluated sometime this week before they are made available to the general public.

Peacock said:

“Several million tests have ben purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claiming to do.

Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community.”

While the British government has been testing 5,000 to 6,000 people daily, authorities hope to ramp up daily tests to 25,000 within four weeks.

The new tests could help the U.K. live up to the World Health Organization (WHO) mantra of “test, test, test.” The U.N. agency sees testing as the crucial backbone of a comprehensive approach to defeating CoViD-19, which consists of testing, tracing, treating, and isolating the pandemic.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

“We cannot stop this pandemic if we do not know who is infected.”

European and Southeast Asian countries are also ordering the new antibody tests, Prof. Peacock said. She added:

 “We are not alone in doing this.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Animals

Fishermen Find $1.5 Million Worth Of ‘Vomit Gold’ In Whale Carcass, Lifting Them From Poverty

Elias Marat

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A group of fishermen from the war-ravaged nation of Yemen have seen their fortunes radically reversed after stumbling upon a rare treasure in the belly of a sperm whale carcass.

The 35 fishermen had been living in poverty before they discovered the floating whale carcass at sea, which turned out to contain an abundance of ambergris worth over $1.5 million, reports the BBC.

Ambergris is a waxy substance that resembles a rock and is often referred to as “whale vomit.” The substance, which is produced deep in the intestines of the marine mammal, is a byproduct of their eating cephalopods such as squid and cuttlefish. The substance is sometimes found floating in the ocean or washed up on beaches after it is believed to have been vomited out by the whales.

Ambergris has been coveted by humans for a long time for its perceived medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities. It has also been used in the manufacturing of expensive perfumes.

“If you find whale ambergris it’s a treasure,” one of the fishermen said in the BBC News video.

The fishermen’s curiosity was piqued when one of them notified them of the whale and said that it may contain the rare treasure in its bowls.

“As soon as we got close to it, there was this strong smell, and we had the feeling that this whale had something,” the fisherman said. “We decided to hook the whale in, take it to the shore and to cut into it to see what was inside its belly. And yes, it was ambergris. The smell wasn’t very nice but [it is worth] lots of money.”

“It’s like an unbelievable dream. Wonderful feelings I can’t describe,” he added.

Since 2014, the people of Yemen have been on the receiving end of devastating offensives by a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in a campaign that has seen tens of thousands of people killed and Yemen pushed to the brink of famine. In October, the United Nations estimated that some 80 percent of the population – over 24 million people – required aid and protection.

However, the fishermen and their families can now lift themselves from poverty after selling the ambergris for $1.5 million and dividing the profits among themselves equally.

The men are now using their funds to assist the people who helped them as well as fellow needy villagers.

The men also have purchased homes, cars, and boats and plan to continue fishing.

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China’s “Artificial Sun” Sets World Record Running At 120 MILLION Degrees For 101 Seconds

Elias Marat

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Chinese researchers have achieved a new world record after scientists developing an “artificial sun” ran the device on Friday at a record-shattering temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for over 100 seconds.

The experiment was held at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, China.

The exercise is a part of the China’s efforts to develop new clean energy sources through the development of next-generation nuclear fusion reactor technology.

Known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), the “Chinese artificial sun” managed to generate plasma temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds before scientists also realized a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for an additional 20 seconds.

The goal of EAST is to create Sun-like energy using deuterium, a hydrogen isotope that is plentiful in the ocean and can provide a steady flow of clean energy. According to estimates, one liter of seawater contains enough deuterium to produce energy equivalent to 300 liters of gasoline.

China hopes that it can replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas with the fusion energy in order to achieve carbon neutrality and a more ecological society.

“It’s a huge achievement in China’s physics and engineering fields. The experiment’s success lays the foundation for China to build its own nuclear fusion energy station,” ASIPP director Song Yuntao said, according to People’s Daily.

The EAST artificial sun is also part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a joint effort by global scientists that includes the input of scientists from China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Experts hope that if development proceeds at the current rate, successful nuclear fusion could be achieved within three decades.

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After Strong Backlash, NYPD Kicks Robotic Dog “Spot” to the Curb

Kenny Stancil

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The New York City Police Department decided this week to stop leasing a robotic dog from Boston Dynamics following a sustained outcry from residents and lawmakers, who denounced the use of the high-tech, four-legged device in low-income neighborhoods as a misallocation of public resources and violation of civil liberties.

When the NYPD acquired the K-9 machine last August, officials portrayed “Digidog”—the department’s name for the camera-equipped, 70-pound robot—as “a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.

Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December: “This dog is going to save lives. It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”

Instead—thanks to strong backlash from critics, including people who live in the Bronx apartment complex and the Manhattan public housing building where the robotic dog was deployed in recent weeks—the department is returning “Spot,” as Boston Dynamics calls the device, months earlier than expected.

According to the Times:

In response to a subpoena from City Councilman Ben Kallos and Council Speaker Corey Johnson requesting records related to the device, police officials said that a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the robotic dog from its maker, Boston Dynamics, had been terminated on April 22.

John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, confirmed on Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog had been returned to Boston Dynamics or would be soon.

Miller told the Times that the police had initially planned to continue testing the K-9 machine’s capabilities until August, when the lease had been scheduled to end.

The robotic dog came under increased scrutiny in February, after it was deployed in response to a home invasion at a Bronx apartment building, as Common Dreams reported at the time.

“Robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?” 

And earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, footage of the robotic dog walking through a Manhattan public housing building went viral, sparking additional outrage and prompting a city council investigation.

“Why the hell do we need robot police dogs?” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) asked at the time. 

While there are “people living in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, take care of their kids, afford child care—all this going on, and now we got damn robot police dogs walking down the street,” Bowman lamented.

Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who urged the police department to reconsider its use of the robot following objections from residents and lawmakers, said he was “glad the Digidog was put down.”

“It’s creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” Neidhardt said.

Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons

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