Castle Journal

Castle Journal

By: JULIA NAFTULIN,

This article is published with BUSINESS INSIDER

A deadly, drug-resistant fungus called Candida auris is spreading on a global scale and causing what the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls "urgent threats."

In 2009, doctors first found C. auris in the ear discharge of a patient in Japan. Since then, the fungus has spread not just to the US, but also numerous other countries, including Colombia, India, and South Korea, according to the CDC.

The CDC reported the first seven cases of C. auris in the United States in August 2016. In May 2017, a total of 77 cases were reported in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma. After looking at people in contact with those first 77 cases, the CDC determined that the quick-spreading fungus had infected 45 more.

As of February 2019, there are 587 confirmed cases of C. auris in the United States alone.

People with weakened immune systems have a high risk for infection

Typically, C. auris affects people with weakened immune systems who are in the hospital or have severe illnesses, according to the CDC. In fact, C. auris outbreaks have been reported in hospitals and healthcare centres around the world.

In the UK, an intensive care unit had to shut down after they found 72 people there were infected with C. auris, and in Spain,a hospital found 372 patients had the fungus. Some 41 percent of the Spanish hospital patients affected died within 30 days of being diagnosed.

C. auris worries healthcare experts because it can't be contained with existing drug treatments. It even has the ability to survive on surfaces like walls and furniture for weeks on end, according to the CDC.

People who contract these drug-resistant diseases typically die soon after contracting them because of their untreatable nature.

Most fungal and bacterial infections can be stopped using drugs. But with drug-resistant fungi and bacteria, their genes evolve so quickly that the treatment meant to target them proves ineffective and allows the dangerous disease to spread.

Drug-resistant diseases are difficult to detect

To make matters worse, many people who carry drug-resistant diseases don't show any symptoms and spread them unknowingly. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 people the agency screened for superbugs carried a drug-resistant disease without knowing it.

More specifically, someone may not realise they have C. auris if they are also sick with another illness, the CDC wrote on its website.

Fever and chills that don't go away following drug treatment are common C. auris symptoms, but the only way to diagnose the fungus is through a lab test.

Some experts think our over-reliance on pesticides and drugs creates superbugs

Doctors and researchers are still unsure what causes drug-resistant diseases, but they do know there are different strains of C. auris in different parts of the world, causing them to believe the fungus didn't come from a single place, The New York Times reported.

Some experts think heavy use of pesticides and other antifungal treatments caused C. auris to pop up in a variety of locations around the same time. In 2013, researchers reported on another drug-resistant fungus called Aspergillus and observed that it existed in places where a pesticide that targeted that specific fungus was used.

As pesticides, antifungals, and antibiotics continue to be heavily used on crops and in livestock, it's possible that the fungi and bacteria they're targeting learn how to evolve to stay alive in spite of the treatments.

Until researchers are able to pinpoint the cause of these drug-resistant diseases, the CDC is urging people to use soap and hand sanitizer before and after touching any patients, and reporting cases to public health departments right away.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

By: Emerging Technology from the arXiv

The research is published in March 12, 2019 with the MIT Technology Review 

Cairo

Archaeologists on Friday unveiled a well preserved and finely painted tomb thought to be from the early Ptolemaic period near the Egyptian town of Sohag.

The tomb was built for a man named Tutu and his wife, and is one of seven discovered in the area last October, when authorities found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts, officials said.

Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the burial chamber as a "beautiful, colorful tomb."

"The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two," he said.

"It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses."

"We see the same thing for his wife, Ta-Shirit-Iziz, with the difference that (we see) verses from a book, the book of the afterlife," he added.

Archaeologists on Friday unveiled a well preserved and finely painted tomb thought to be from the early Ptolemaic period near the Egyptian town of Sohag.

The tomb was built for a man named Tutu and his wife, and is one of seven discovered in the area last October, when authorities found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts, officials said.

Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the burial chamber as a "beautiful, colorful tomb."

"The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two," he said.

"It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses."

"We see the same thing for his wife, Ta-Shirit-Iziz, with the difference that (we see) verses from a book, the book of the afterlife," he added.


Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, talks about a newly discovered burial site, Tomb of Tutu, at al-Dayabat, Sohag, Eygpt, April 5, 2019. /Reuters Photo‍

Two mummies, a woman aged between 35-50 and a boy aged 12-14, were on display outside the shallow burial chamber, in a desert area near the Nile about 390 kilometers south of Cairo.

Around 50 mummified animals, including mice and falcons, were also recovered from the tomb.

Ptolemaic rule spanned about three centuries until the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

Egypt's ancient sites are a draw for tourists and authorities hope new finds can help boost the sector, which has been recovering after foreigners were scared off by the North African country's 2011 popular uprising and the turmoil and insecurity that followed.

Source(s): AFP


Chinese researchers develop new device that can detect 27 types of drugs in 2 seconds


Chinese researchers have developed a mass spectrometer that can rapidly detect illegal drugs on-site.

Drugs identification is essential for drugs control, and law enforcement departments have an urgent need for the technology and equipment that can rapidly identify illegal drugs, including new ones.

Developed by researchers from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan Police Officer Academy, and Drugs Analysis and Drugs Control Technology Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Public Security, the device realizes rapid on-site detection of illegal drugs in a complex matrix. The research was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

The device can analyze 27 types of drugs and analyze the drugs in less than two seconds. The detection limits for all drugs are at the nanogram level.

The device also adopted a temperature-regulated sampling strategy that can distinguish illegal drugs components in plant-based drugs samples and drinks containing illegal drugs.

The device has been used in some frontier inspection stations in Yunnan Province to help combat drugs smuggling. They will keep improving the performance of the device based on the current application, according to the research team.

 

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

Lausanne

Researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) said Thursday they have developed an infrared laser source that can detect pollution in the air or molecules in someone's breath which could be important for the environment and human health.

EPFL said in a press release that the compact system developed by its scientists is the size of a tiny suitcase and the research is detailed in an article published in Nature Communications.

The system has two parts that consist of a standard laser together with a photonic chip measuring a few millimeters across.

EPFL said the mid-infrared spectrum is especially useful for scientists because, at this wavelength range, light can detect particles that play an essential role in the environment and human health.

"This device sets a new benchmark for efficiency," said Davide Grassani, one of the authors of the published paper.

"This is the first time anyone has created a fully integrated spectroscopic laser source. It does away with the painstaking process of precisely aligning all the parts in a conventional laser system."

The scientists' breakthrough came after the team refined key aspects of the system's design, the waveguide geometry and material and the wavelength of the original laser source.

"Coming up with such a simple yet efficient and sturdy system involved a lot of design work," said Camille Bres, project coordinator and head of the Photonic Systems Laboratory, part of EPFL's School of Engineering.

The discovery paves the way for miniaturized mid-infrared technologies, she said.

"Once we've developed the system further, we could well see on-chip detectors that scientists can easily carry out into the field," said Bres.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

     So long period  Windows 7 users are taking to stop using this program, but things now changed finally as they are beginning to drop the operating system in favour of newer versions.

This trend is reflected in the latest data from NetMarketShare, which shows that the adoption of Windows 10 continues to increase as more Windows 7 users heed Microsoft’s warning regarding the operating system’s impending loss of support.

Windows 10 first overtook Windows 7 in terms of market share in December 2018, despite its release over three years earlier in June 2015.

This shows the extremely slow uptake of the software by Windows users, which is especially dismal compared to the rapid adoption of new software versions by Mac and iOS users.

Windows 7 has now finally started to lose larger chunks of market share, however, making way for the mass adoption of Windows 10.

While history shows that users are slow to give up on older Windows operating systems, Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue extended support for Windows 7 in January 2020.

This means that users who insist on remaining with the shelved operating system will no longer receive critical security and quality-of-life updates.

Mainstream support for the original version of Windows 7 ended on 9 April 2013, while mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ended on 13 January 2015.

It will take a long time before the operating system fades into obscurity, though.

Source : Hi- tech board

Boeing Co. is cutting production of its 737 jetliner for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks as the planemaker works to limit financial damage from the global grounding of its newest and best-selling aircraft model.

By slashing output 19 percent — to 42 airplanes a month by mid-April — Boeing will be able to reduce its spending on the 737 and preserve cash. As work slows in a Boeing factory south of Seattle, two key suppliers, CFM International and Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., indicated they would continue full-tilt at the current record pace.

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg outlined the plan Friday as the company ramps up efforts to restore public confidence in the 737 Max and the planemaker’s commitment to safety after two of the aircraft crashed within five months. Boeing is facing criminal and Congressional probes stemming from the disasters. To help quell concerns, the company’s board named a committee dedicated to reviewing the design and development of its aircraft.

“Safety is our responsibility, and we own it,” Muilenburg said in a statement Friday after the close of regular trading. “When the Max returns to the skies, we’ve promised our airline customers and their passengers and crews that it will be as safe as any airplane ever to fly.”

Even at the slower production pace, Boeing faces about $3.6 billion in quarterly losses, said George Ferguson, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. As it continues to build planes, the company is foregoing payments from customers who aren’t able to take delivery because of the grounding.

Boeing Co. said Friday it plans to cut its monthly 737 aircraft production by nearly 20 percent in the wake of two deadly crashes, signaling it does not expect aviation authorities to allow the plane back in the air anytime soon.

Deliveries of Boeing's best-selling aircraft were frozen after a global grounding of the narrow-body model following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet on March 10, killing all 157 people on board.

U.S. and airline officials said they now believe the plane could be grounded for at least two months, but an even longer grounding is a serious possibility.

The crash in Ethiopia and the crash of a Lion Air plane in Indonesia last October that killed all 189 people on board have left the world's largest planemaker in crisis.

Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on Friday that the company now knows that a chain of events caused both disasters, with erroneous activation of so-called MCAS anti-stall software "a common link" between the two.

Boeing said it would not reduce jobs at the new production rate and will work to minimize the financial impact.

The company's board will establish a committee to review how the company designs and develops airplanes, Muilenburg said. The group will "recommend improvements to our policies and procedures" for its 737 MAX and other airplane programs.

Boeing said it continues to make progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

Shares in Boeing Co fell by around two percent after the market closed on Friday. While the number of 737 MAX planes grounded is just over 370, nearly 5,000 more are on order.

Before the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, Boeing had planned to raise output of the 737, a workhorse for budget carriers, about 10 percent by midyear. The reversal squeezes suppliers who’d hired workers and invested to expand capacity. Some had already started moving toward a 57-jet monthly pace under a carefully orchestrated schedule.

Boeing will coordinate with customers and suppliers to blunt the financial impact of the slowdown, and for now doesn’t plan to lay off workers from the 737 program, Muilenburg said.

“It’s cash conservation,” said Stephen Perry, co-founder of Janes Capital Partners, an investment bank that focuses on aerospace and defense deals. A short-term slowdown could help Spirit AeroSystems and CFM work out supplier issues of their own, he said. Though “if it lasts longer, it’s problematic.”

Both CFM and Spirit AeroSystems were plagued by delays last year. The slowdown at Boeing will give them a chance to bolster the weak links in their own supply chains, Perry said. By continuing at full speed, the companies will be positioned to accelerate to an even higher rate, if needed, once Max deliveries resume, he said.

 

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