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Cyborg locust brains can help spot the telltale signs of human cancer in the lab, a new study has shown. The team behind the work hopes it could one day lead to an insect-based breath test that could be used in cancer screening, or inspire an artificial version that works in much the same way.

Other animals have been taught to spot signs that humans are sick. For example, dogs can be trained to detect when their owners’ blood sugar levels start to drop, or if they develop cancer, tuberculosis, or even covid.

In all cases, the animals are thought to be sensing chemicals that people emit through body odor or breath. The mix of chemicals can vary depending on a person’s metabolism, which is thought to change when we get sick. But dogs are expensive to train and look after. And making a device that mimics a dog’s nose has proved extremely difficult to do, says Debajit Saha, one of the scientists behind the latest work, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. 

“These changes are almost in parts per trillion,” says Saha, a neural engineer at Michigan State University. This makes them hard to pick up even with state-of-the-art technologies, he adds. But animals have evolved to interpret such subtle changes in scents. So he and his colleagues decided to “hijack” an animal brain instead.

COURTESY OF THE RESEARCHERS

The researchers chose to work with locusts because these insects have been well studied in recent years. In a preliminary setup, they surgically exposed the brain of a living locust. Saha and his colleagues then inserted electrodes into lobes of the brain that receive signals from the insects’ antennae, which they use to sense odors.

The team also grew three different types of human oral cancer cells, as well as human mouth cells that were cancer-free. They used a device to capture gas emitted by each of the cell types, and delivered each of these to the locusts’ antennae.

The locusts’ brains responded to each of the cell types differently. The patterns of electrical activity recorded were so distinct that when the team puffed the gas from one cell type onto the antennae, they could correctly identify whether the cells were cancerous from the recording alone.

It is the first time a living insect brain has been tested as a tool to detect cancer, says Saha.

Natalie Plank, who is developing nanomaterial-based health sensors at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, thinks the work is “super cool.” “The potential of just being able to breathe on something and then know if you’re at risk for cancer … is really powerful,” she says.

In the experiment, the team took brain recordings from multiple locusts and combined their responses. It currently takes recordings from 40 neurons to get a clear signal, which means the system requires between six and 10 locust brains. But Saha hopes to use electrodes that can record from more neurons, which would allow him to get recordings from the brain of a single locust. He also hopes to be able to use the brain and antennae in a portable device, which could then be tested on real people.

James Covington, an engineer developing sensors at the University of Warwick in the UK, isn’t convinced that such a device will ever be used in cancer clinics. “Scientifically, it’s really interesting,” he says. “But there are so many challenges to get something approved for cancer screening.”

Another question is whether people will feel comfortable using insects in this way. Honeybees that are trained to detect explosives, for example, tend to be released afterwards, Covington points out. “The bees get to have a nice life again,” he says. “But for these locusts, it’s kind of a one-shot deal.”

Saha says that locusts do not feel pain, so they don’t need anesthesia. But some research suggests that insects can sense and avoid things we might consider “painful” and might develop lasting sensitivity after an injury, similar to chronic pain. “The insect is dead in terms of its body function,” says Saha. “We are just keeping its brain alive.”

If the team can figure out which receptors on the insects’ antennae are the most important for detecting cancer, they might be able to create versions in the lab and use those instead, says Plank. In her own research, she uses lab-made proteins that mimic receptors in

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By: Jessica Hamzelou
Title: A locust’s brain has been hacked to sniff out cancer
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/06/21/1054532/cyborg-locust-brain-hacked-sniff-out-cancer/
Published Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 14:36:35 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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