New study analyzes the weapons of Ötzi the Iceman

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers has found out many interesting facts about the life of Ötzi the Iceman, a prehistoric human. Ötzi died within the Alps close to the Austrian-Italian border near about fifty-three hundred years ago. His body was reportedly chiseled from inside the ice sheets back in the year 1991. This new study has illustrated some instances of the daily lives of the Alpine inhabitants living sometime in the fourth millennium B.C.

The study brought to light the way the Iceman organized his arrows and tools and also demonstrates the trade systems prevalent during that time. Ötzi always stored his tools inside a belt pouch. According to the study, a lot of the tools were constructed for cutting softwood and small plants. The tools were reported to have been sharpened again and again numerous times.

The researchers involved in the study were surprised seeing the amazing design of the tools of the Ötzi. His tools were perfectly built to achieve all his basic purposes. The research team wrote about the tools that, they were “just effective enough to achieve correct results in retouching and re-sharpening.”

As per the researchers, a dagger of five inches was discovered close to the body of the Iceman. On analyzing the tool, the researchers got to know that it was not made by the Iceman himself but by a craftsman. Ötzi reportedly kept his dagger sharp by using a tool of the shape of a pencil designed from wood and the antler of a deer.

The Iceman used this tool for a longer duration. According to the researchers, “The wooden handle is intensely worn with several rounded and damaged parts.” The researchers pointed out, “The apex of the antler tip bears small incisions caused by use.”

Ötzi the Iceman died at the age of forty-five. He was reportedly murdered by an archer of the Southern Alps who could have followed him up into those mountains. The body of the Iceman was covered quickly by the heavy ice sheets and snow in the area.

All the findings of this new study have been published on Wednesday 20th June in the PLOS One journal.

Florida wants all the lionfish in its water killed

According to the reports received lately, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is offering around five thousand dollars for catching the lionfish residing inside the Florida waters.

On Labor Day, celebrated on 3rd September, the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Challenge would be conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This challenge is reportedly offered by the organization to the commercial as well as recreational fishermen and fisherwomen. As a part of this challenge, they need harvesting the lionfish and submitting pictures of the initial twenty-five lionfish. After submitting the photos of the initial twenty-five, the participants of the challenge require submitting tails to gain the opportunity to obtain the prize amount.

According to the rules of the challenge, the tails of the lionfish need to be submitted only at the numerous checkpoints all over Florida that includes- the Pompano Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Islamorada, Marathon, Tavernier, Boca Raton, and Key West. As a token of reward, the participants of the challenge could even obtain the 2018 Lionfish Challenge T-shirts, a commemorative coin as well as a free entry coupon to the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame.

The FWC posted the motive of this challenge on its Facebook page stating that it is to “provide important information about lionfish movement and to encourage others to remove far greater quantities and sizes of lionfish than FWC tagged. FWC staff do remove lionfish frequently, but programs like this one will help achieve these additional goals.”

The lionfish resides typically in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. The creature was initially regarded as a pet and was kept in aquariums due to its vibrant vertical stripes back during the 1980s. However, these fish are as fatal as they are beautiful. The dorsal spikes that these animals have are venomous and are used for defense purposes. These fish also have a huge appetite and tend to consume all other fishes kept with them. They even sting people if they tried cleaning their aquariums.

For these purposes, people stopped keeping lionfish as pets in aquariums and duped them in the waters of South Florida. The fish started multiplying in numbers there, feeding on the native animals and destroying the coral reefs.

In order to reduce the lionfish numbers, many restaurants in South Florida started serving their meet on the menus.

A lot of Psychiatric disorders have a common genetic link

A new study performed lately by a group of international researchers known together as Brainstorm Consortium has pointed out the existence of a genetic connection between various disorders related to the human brain.

At the present much-sophisticated techniques like AI analyses, DNA tests, and other high-tech treatments are done for understanding the various brain issues including the Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia. However, as it could be depicted in the study, there exist many fundamental things related to these diseases, which the treatment providers do not really understand. This obstructs the way in which effective treatments could be given to the patients suffering from the various neurological and psychiatric ailments.

As a part of this study, lots of information was initially gathered in order to formulate the research. The researchers involved in the study analyzed the data from different Genome-wide Association Studies (GWASs) that consist of every bit of variations that occur in the genome of a human and tend to get cropped up much more rapidly in the people who are experiencing some kind of disorder or ailment in comparison to those who are healthy and normal.

The GWASs, which was analyzed by the researchers involved in the study, consisted of information about nearly 265,218 patients having a minimum of one out of twenty-five brain disorders. Out of those twenty-five brain disorders, ten were psychiatric (such as schizophrenia, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), etc.), and fifteen were neurological disorders (such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, etc.). In the studied GWASs there were 784,643 people free from these disorders, who posed as the control subjects.

The researchers involved in the study also collected data on seventeen other points of information relating to the observable traits of people known as phenotypes. This data was collected from around 1,191,588 people. Phenotypes usually are generated by the collaboration of the genetics of a person with the environmental condition the person is residing in. The phenotypes that were examined by the group of researchers consisted of BMI, neuroticism, and education level.

It was discovered in the study that a lot of the psychiatric disorders had common genome variants. However, this was not the case for neurological disorders. According to the researchers, this indicates that the psychiatric events are much more closely associated genetically in comparison to that of the neurological disorders.

The observations of this study were published on Thursday 21st June in the Science journal.

Four cups of coffee a day, keep heart problems away- Study

According to a new study conducted by a group of German researchers, 4 cups of coffee per day could keep the heart healthy and fit.  The study has successfully discovered the fruitful impact of caffeine in keeping the heart healthy for a long time.

As a part of this latest study, the researchers involved, analyzed caffeinated mice and dosed human tissues in the laboratory to discover the way in which the stimulant can enhance the manner in which the cells inside the human blood vessels function. The study pointed out that caffeine makes some proteins inside the cells of older adults function much more like the cells in young ones.

The molecular biologist Joachim Altschmied, who led the study, said in a statement, “When you drink four to five cups of espresso that seems to improve the function of the powerhouses of our cells, and therefore, seems to be protective.”

For years together researchers have observed that the people who consume coffee are less likely to face death from the different causes of heart stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. This confirmed report has been received from two major studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health- the first one was conducted on four hundred thousand women and men of the United States and the second one was conducted on around five hundred thousand Europeans. Both these studies pointed out that the people who consumed coffee regularly were more resistant to death from any health issues in comparison to the people who did not take coffee daily.

This study also highlighted the other health benefits of consuming coffee regularly. This includes- a highly reduced risk of developing liver problems, a highly reduced risk of acquiring certain kinds of cancer, reduced risk of acquiring dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study also pointed out a lowered risk of depression in the people who drank coffee daily. The people consuming 3 to 4 cups of coffee daily are nineteen percent less prone to death due to cardiovascular problems.

Altschmied believes that this new study would remove the old misconception of people that coffee should not be taken by the people experiencing heart issues. The researcher further adviced, “It will not replace other things. Keep on doing your sports, eat healthy, and add coffee to your diet.”

The findings of this study were published on Thursday 21st June in the PLOS Biology journal.

New DNA synthesizing technique can create genes overnight

In a recent study, a new DNA synthesizing method was developed, which has the ability to help biologists in creating much cheaper, faster, and easier synthetic DNA sequences.

A new gene creation process at the present is expensive and slower. The genetic code’s fundamental building blocks, bases are included one by one to a processing DNA strand. This entire process fails at times and tends to fall short of the juice just immediately after a sequence meets two hundred bases.

In the previously used method even if the rate of failure is known to be higher, it is regarded better for writing a lot of various small genetic codes and then combining all of them together by making use of enzymes. This new method indicated in the recent study is expected to remove much of the previous issues.

The method of DNA synthesizing used previously roots back to the year 1970. The method involves a slow process, which tends to make the genetic labs slow down even if the new technologies such as CRISPR help in speeding up the other sections of the process of gene-editing.

The new method discovered in this study performed lately at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory would reportedly make a brute-force approach. In this process, the enzymes would physically bind every new DNA bit onto the sequence, prior to getting cut from the sequence. This process could continue up to eternity without stopping abruptly at two hundred bases.

As said by the researchers, this method tends to use lots of enzymes in the process. However, enzymes are not expensive. The researchers have strong belief that combining DNA sequences together by using the brute-force approach, would soon become a common practice in the genetics labs. Nevertheless, this new method has still not reached up to its highest speed and is prone to meet failure. The researchers, however, have said that they would make this new method much powerful so that soon complete artificial genes could be created overnight.

The findings of this new study were published in the Nature Biotechnology journal on Monday 18th June.

Light alcohol drinkers are at the lowest risk of death and cancer- study

It is already known to all that drinking invites cancer and death. According to a recent study performed by a group of researchers, heavy and frequent drinkers are at the highest risk of acquiring cancer. However, the new study has also found out that the risk of cancer and death is very less among the people who are light drinkers (those who consume 1-3 alcoholic drinks every week). This risk tends to hike with every additional alcoholic drink taken per week.

The study reportedly pointed out a lower risk of cancer and overall mortality among light drinkers in comparison to the people who do not drink at all. Researcher Andrew Kunzmann at the Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, said in a statement, “We had expected light drinkers to be at a similar combined risk to never drinkers, so the reduced risk in light drinkers was surprising.” Further, Kunzmann, the lead author of the study said, “The reasons for the reduced risk in light drinkers compared to never drinkers are still open to debate amongst the scientific community. Some have suggested that alcohol may have cardio-protective effects that may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.” As said by Kunzmann, the other debaters have pointed out that “light drinkers may be at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease for other reasons, as light drinkers tend to be wealthier and more health-conscious in other ways.”

As a part of this study, around 99,654 subjects aged between 55 to 74 were taken from the U.S. The subjects filled in a questionnaire on their diet history that analyzed their alcohol intake. According to the inferences of this survey, the approximate lifetime alcohol consumption among adults was reported to be 1.78 drinks/ week, with 4.02 drinks/ week among the men and 0.80 drinks/ week among the women. As per the data, those subjects who took less than 0.5 drinks/ day, were at the lowest risk of death and acquiring cancer.  The amount of alcohol intake throughout a lifetime showed J-shaped relationship with respect to the overall mortality. The people who never took any alcoholic drink were at a bit higher threat and the people who took more than 0.5 drinks a day were at a much higher threat.

The findings of this study were published on Tuesday 19th June in the PLOS Medicine journal.

Volvo promises to use 25 percent reused plastic in its cars

The vehicle manufacturing company, Volvo has reportedly promised to manufacture its vehicles with at least twenty-five percent of recycled plastics starting from the year 2025. The Swedish automaker would be making use of a higher quantity of reused substances in designing the cabin of its transport vehicles.

As reported by the American Chemistry Council, on an average, the conventional cars use three hundred thirty-two pounds plastic. Taking the estimation into account, it could be well said that the promised objective of Volvo would not be easy to achieve.  However, the ratio of the plastic used to the total weight varies from one automaker to another.

The main motive of Volvo is to anyhow ensure that a minimum of one-quarter of the total plastics that it usually uses in its each new car must be replaced with recycled materials. However, the automaker could not achieve all this independently. In order to fulfill this target, Volvo would have to share its idea with its suppliers to make its supplies of fabrics and other materials meet the minimum set standards.

In order to demonstrate as to how its objective would look like, Volvo released a special version of its XC60 SUV in which recycled materials are used in place of virgin plastic. For an instance, inside the cabin, the seats are made of PET fibers obtained from the plastic bottles. The carpet of the car is made from a mix of those fibers with a sort of recycled cotton, which Volvo obtained from the offcuts it got from the clothing industries. The tunnel console is reportedly made from plastics and fibers obtained from old and worn out fishing nets.

The CEO and President of Volvo Cars, Håkan Samuelsson, said in a statement, “Environmental care is one of Volvo’s core values and we will continue to find new ways to bring this into our business.” Samuelsson added, “This car and our recycled plastics ambition are further examples of that commitment.”

This is not the very first time that such a promise has been made by an automobile company. Back in the year 2012, the automobile manufacturer, Ford had also announced its plans to design the components of the Focus Electric with reused plastic bottles. The company had also tried making the interior trim’s rubber from dandelion roots.

World’s earliest Sumatran Orangutan, Puan died at 62

The world has bided a painful farewell to the earliest known Sumatran orangutan, Puan that reportedly died at the age of sixty-two in an Australian zoo. Puan has left behind fifty-four descendants that are spread all over the world including zoos in the United States, Europe, Singapore, and Australia. Some of Puan’s descendants also inhibit the Sumatra island.

As reported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Puan has contributed remarkably towards keeping the severely endangered species Sumatran orangutan alive. Puan was reportedly born in the year 1956 in Indonesia and was gifted later in the year 1968 to the West Australian Zoo by a Malaysian sultan.

The keepers of Puan were really fond of the animal. The chief zookeeper of Puan, Martina Hart penned down an obituary in which she described the animal to be “the maker of the most amazing nests, and the lady who took no nonsense from her children over the years, but was also the most nurturing mother we had.” Hart further mentioned, “If you weren’t quick with her dinner, or you kept her inside a minute longer than she deemed necessary, she would let you know by tapping her foot to make you hurry along. You always knew were you stood with Puan.” The obituary was published on Tuesday 19th June in The West Australian newspaper.

Remembering the old days of Puan in the zoo, Hart said, “Over the years Puan’s eyelashes had greyed, her movement had slowed down and her mind had started to wander. But she remained the matriarch, the quiet, dignified lady she had always been.”

The Perth zoo uploaded a heart touching video of Puan on the social networking platform Twitter. Primate Supervisor Holly Thompson said that Puan’s death was really “calm and relaxed.” Thompson stated, “Puan had people who had been working with her for a long long time, with her till the very end.” Martina Hart, with a heavy heart, said that the entire zoo would miss her.

Even after the passing away of Puan, there are some of the animal’s descendants living at the Perth Zoo. Puan’s descendants at the Perth Zoo include- Pulang and Puteri, her daughters; Lestari, Sekara, Teliti, and Utama, her four grandchildren; and Sungai, her great-grandson.

People need to be aware to escape heat related sicknesses

Presently, we are at that phase of the year where it is important for people to take care of their bodies and understand what conditions suit their body and which are the conditions that tend to have a negative impact on it.

The temperatures are rising continually and the heat is predicted to reach up to ninety-four degrees.  In accordance with the National Weather Service, the people working outdoors are at a comparatively higher risk of acquiring heat-related health issues. A program for making people aware of the health effects of heat was organized on Monday 18th June that continued from noon till 8 p.m. late in the evening.

The NWS also spoke of one air-quality alert having code orange, which depicts that the concentration of air pollution in that area is higher and may be unhealthy for children, senior citizens, the people having asthma, and the people suffering from heart or lungs related diseases.

The NWS said that the heat would be maximum during mid to the late afternoon. The service urged that the people doing any strenuous work during this time should reschedule their work either for the evening or early morning. The service also advised people to wear light and loose-fitting clothes and drink enough water for the body to stay hydrated all through the day.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion is really crucial. Heat exhaustion is reportedly of 2 types, namely- salt depletion and water depletion. The symptoms of “salt depletion” are muscle cramps, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. The symptoms of “water depletion” are- excessive thirst, headache, loss of consciousness, and weakness.

Heat exhaustion could reportedly result in heat stroke if proper care is not taken. Heat stroke could lead to the damage of the brain as well as the other organs of the body and in certain cases may also be fatal. The symptoms of heat stroke are- fainting, dizziness, throbbing headache, muscle cramps, weakness, and the skin turning red, dry, and hot, rapid and shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat,  staggering or disorientation, confusion, and seizures.

The NWS has warned people to take the required precautions before going outside in the sun.

Human brain tends to get attracted more towards fats and carbs combined foods

According to a new study performed by a group of researchers at the Yale University, human brain gets stimulated more by food such as Pizza, Mac and Cheese, and Doughnuts. The foods consisting of higher carbs and fats reportedly tend to act as addictive drugs for the brain.

As a part of this new study, some subjects were chosen and were viewed pictures of different types of foods and a price was placed depicting the price of the food items. Some of those food items reportedly contained fats, the others contained carbs and the rest contained both fats and carbs. At the time when the subjects were selecting their treat, the researchers connected them with a fMRI scanner for checking the things that were crossing their brains at that time.

Despite the limited amount of money provided, the subjects wanted to spend more on the food items, which consisted of a combination of carbs as well as fats. The researchers noted that while the subjects chose their treat, neural networks present in their brains immediately lit up to the maximum for the food items consisting of fats as well as carbs in comparison to the food items that had a larger size, were sweeter, or were denser in calories.

The researchers involved in this study said, “These results are the first to demonstrate that foods high in fat and carbohydrates are more rewarding, calorie for calorie, than foods high only in fat or carbohydrate.”

According to the experts, the reason behind our higher likelihood for some foods than the others actually dates back to ages ago when humans were hunter-gatherers. Back then humans used to feed on the foods that were promptly available. For this reason, sometimes the gatherers fed on meat for lunch and at the other times, they had berries. But they never had the combination of both the food items at one time. Hence, as per the researchers, humans may have developed a satiety system for consuming carbohydrates and fats independently.

The early humans did not consume carbs and fats together till they domesticated animals and plants for both dairy and fruits. But until that time processed food items were developed that had a combination of both the nutrients.

The researchers said that humans could have developed distinct mechanisms to desire for foods consisting of carbs as well as fats in a way such that if they both are combined, our brain gets strongly propelled to them. The researchers hope that further understanding this mechanisms could bring to light how human brains influence what they eat.