futurism.com | Thanks to a Novel Protein, We Could Bring an End to Obesity

Deadly combo

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is one of the most common health conditions in the world. It affects more than 600 million adults and around 41 million children under the age of 5. Of these, more than 29 million are in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The consequences of obesity can be as serious as heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes, which the CDC reports around 29 million Americans have. Now, researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium may have found a way to halt the development of both type 2 diabetes and obesity in humans, using a recently discovered protein.

For 10 years now, scientists Patrice Cani, a WELBIO researcher at the Louvain Drug Research Institute, and Willem de Vos of the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, have been studying a bacterium called Akkermansia muciniphila, and have realized that this bacteria is found in smaller levels in obese mice. Treating mice with A. muciniphila seemed to reverse several metabolic disorders that led to obesity.

Credits: Microbiology Society
Credits: Microbiology Society

An unexpected discovery

In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, Cani and de Vos discovered something more. Since December 2015, Akkermansia-based treatment trials for humans have been ongoing. While the effects are yet to be conclusive, it’s clear that the treatment isn’t harmful to humans — after all, A. muciniphila is one of the more common gut bacteria.

Then something came up. They discovered that pasteurization had very positive effects on the bacterium. “Unexpectedly, we discovered that pasteurization of A. muciniphila enhanced its capacity to reduce fat mass development, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in mice,” says the study.

Pasteurization, it would seem, makes the bacterium effective because it kills off everything else in A. muciniphila except for a protein — the genetically engineered version of it is called Amuc_1100. When tested on mice, this protein appeared to be good for the immune system, blocking toxins from reaching the bloodstream, and strengthening intestinal immunity.

Amuc_1100 is the key to how A. muciniphila can combat obesity in mice. In the near future, it’s expected to be able to do the same thing in humans.

The post Thanks to a Novel Protein, We Could Bring an End to Obesity appeared first on Futurism.

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futurism.com | Get Involved in the World’s Biggest Quantum Physics Experiment Happening Right Now

What could be the world’s largest quantum physics experiment is happening today, 30 November 2016, and researchers need people from all over the world to get involved by helping them test the laws of quantum mechanics.

The experiment, run by 12 different labs around the world, will test Albert Einstein’s idea of local realism – one of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. All you have to do to help out is play a bunch of online games for science.

So, what will all your gaming efforts achieve? Basically, local realism is an attempt to overcome what Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance.”

In quantum mechanics, there are two things to keep in mind. First, particles don’t have a distinct value until they’re measured. And secondly, when two particles are entangled, one of them will immediately affect its entangled partner, no matter how physically far apart they are.

Einstein didn’t like that, because, in theory, it seems to violate the speed of light – hence the “spooky action” quote.

So he came up with the idea of local realism, which assumes that a particle must objectively have a pre-existing value for any possible measurement – and that way, information doesn’t actually travel between two entangled particles faster than the speed of light.

Since then, researchers have come up with a test to measure whether or not information is actually travelling between entangled particles, known as the Bell inequality test.

And if it’s violated in actual experiments, it implies that quantum mechanics violates either locality or realism, and the idea of local realism (and Einstein’s hypothesis) therefore cannot be correct.

Several experiments over the past few years have reportedly violated Bell’s inequality – last year, the first Bell’s inequality experiment was completed without loopholes, but there’s still dispute over whether or not local realism actually holds up.

The new worldwide experiment aims to settle the matter once and for all, by using a huge amount of random, user-generated data to test Bell’s inequality.

Basically, the researchers are holding what’s called the ‘BIG Bell Test: worldwide quantum experiments powered by human randomness‘, and they aim to conduct a range of Bell’s inequality tests around the world, controlled by human decisions made by volunteers (which they call Bellsters).

The experiment needs at least 30,000 volunteers from all over the world, and of all ages, to take part in order to generate enough random data to properly test out Bell’s inequality.

You do this by playing a game where you have to introduce the most random sequences of 0s and 1s as possible. These sequences you generate in your game will determine the order of measurement of quantum entangled particles in each lab around the world.

The loophole-free Bell’s test last year was similar, but it used a physical random number generator to come up with this data, whereas the new experiment will try to generate even more randomness using the brains trust of the internet.

The games are accessible to people of all ages, and all you need is an internet connection.

If you pass all the levels, you’ll have generated enough random sequences of information to help the scientists complete their Bell’s inequality test.

Click here to get involved. For science!

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futurism.com | The Missing Universe: CERN Has Started Searching for “Dark Photons”

The Fifth Force

The universe is shrouded in mystery—a shroud so dark, in fact, that 27 percent of the matter in it is “dark.” Dark matter does not interact with photons and electromagnetic waves, so it’s invisible to our eyes and to every kind of telescope. Basically, it’s the darkness that surrounds every celestial body, and we only know that it’s there because astronomers observe its gravitational pull on everything else.

A working theory is that – in addition to the four fundamental forces that drive the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear forces – there’s a fifth force that rules the behavior of dark matter. Physicists from CERN now believe that this force is transmitted by a particle called the dark photon.

“To use a metaphor, an otherwise impossible dialogue between two people not speaking the same language (visible and dark matter) can be enabled by a mediator (the dark photon), who understands one language and speaks the other one,” explained Sergei Gninenko of CERN.

The research facility is now launching the NA64 experiment to search for this particle. The equipment focuses a beam of electrons with a known value of initial energy at a detector. Interactions between the electrons and atoms in the detector produce visible photons. If dark photons exist, they will escape the detector and subtract from the initial electron energy, as by the law of conservation of energy.

The Complex Universe

There’s a lot of work to be done by physicists in order to prove that dark photons exist. Results of the experiment must be replicable and, if the scientists find it, another round of research will be pursued to prove its relation to dark matter.

CERN is an organization of physicists and engineers that probe the universe in pursuit of understanding its fundamental structure. Discoveries from these studies could validate or totally destroy everything we currently know.

While dark matter may seem very far away from us and our daily lives, understanding all these mysteries is another step toward understanding ourselves and this complex universe we live in.

The post The Missing Universe: CERN Has Started Searching for “Dark Photons” appeared first on Futurism.

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xkcd.com | Apple Spectrum

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Apple Spectrum

If I were trapped on a desert island, and could have an unlimited supply of any one type of apple, I'd be like, "How did this situation happen?"

http://xkcd.com/1766/

futurism.com | Fleetlight Drones Are Lighting up The Night

Summon a fleet of drones to guide you.

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10 Brilliant Rube Goldberg Machines

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10 Brilliant Rube Goldberg Machines

We normally like to keep things simple and do things the easy way, but we’re completely fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines. They require a level of skill and patience we doubt we’ll ever posses and they’re the ultimate expression of doing something just because you can.

http://ift.tt/1uQ74k3

TraptionBakery by ProperBostin.

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TraptionBakery by ProperBostin.

Available on the App Store now. TraptionBakery. An Upcyclepunk Postimperial Curio …. for iPad / iPhone / iPod touch. A curio for some or a right old puzzle for others, make no mistake. Some say: some folk actually managed to bake a loaf of bread using this confounded contraption…

http://ift.tt/2gjxSYr