Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 27, 2020

Science & Technology



NSA-related blog post sparks controversy

Hopkins received criticism on Monday when the University’s adherence to academic freedom was called into question. Matthew Green, a computer science professor, authored a recent blog post critiquing the National Security Agency (NSA). As a specialist in applied cryptology, he condemned the NSA’s ability to bypass online encryption that safeguards sensitive information on the internet. Four days later, Andrew Douglas, interim dean of the Whiting School of Engineering (WSE), instructed Green to remove his blog post from the Hopkins servers because it included the NSA logo and linked to classified information.


Four explosion-resistant materials that may save your future self

Amidst our country’s gun control debates, Korean peninsula tensions and recent acts of mass violence in the news, we begin to wonder how we can ever feel safe again. While intense debate arises when discussing the pros and cons of increased weaponry in the hands of common citizens, some scientists are spending their time developing hard-to-argue-with solutions for the ever-increasing instability of the modern world.


Dark triad made up of scariest personality types

Before the world knew him as Lord Voldemort, Tom Marvolo Riddle was quite a charmer. A tall, handsome youth with impeccable manners and perfect grades, Riddle was admired by his teachers and classmates. But Tom’s good boy persona was skin-deep. At heart, he was a psychopath and narcissist who used his looks and charisma to rope others into doing his dirty work.


3D scans are practical but not yet feasible

3D printing is now starting to get into the realm of manufacturers, yet still retains a certain hobbyist appeal, so getting a design might get a little easier with an equivalent scanner. Currently there are two companies looking to break ground in the mass adoption of 3D scanning: Makerbot with their Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner and Matterform with their Photon 3D Scanner.



Hopkins successfully reduces medical waste

Hospitals can seem like a world unto themselves — doctors flying around frantically, machines beeping everywhere —but one thing about them is pretty ordinary: they produce trash. The not so ordinary part: it’s a lot of trash.


Ethnicity may determine immunity

Various aspects of human beings are determined by genetics. However, there is always the nature versus nurture debate. Recently, a team of researchers led by Corey Watson, a postdoctoral at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, discovered important links between immunity and genes. There is substantial evidence that the nature side of the debate is more influential than nurture — at least in terms of the immune system.


Scientists harness photosynthesis

One of the modern world’s biggest concerns today is the current energy crisis.  Globally, scientists and engineers are searching to find and working to develop new alternative energy sources to replace our dwindling fossil fuel reserves.  In response, we’ve turned to wind-power, hydro-power, ethanol and many more green initiatives.  Yet, nature’s most powerful energy source has always been the sun.  Thus far, solar energy technology has not shown much promise in yielding practical and efficient results to meet today’s energy demands.  However, quantum biologists may have finally found a way to harness the sun’s vast energy potential — by mimicking plants.


PHSF hosts student conference

Young adults often find themselves stuck in a “waiting room” — a place where everything comes at a standstill. We do not move because we are afraid to move; we do not know how to take the next step. So we remain frozen in that chair in the waiting room as we claw anxiously at the armrests. But why? We are at the brink of adulthood, yet we feel we are still not quite strong enough to make a difference in the world — to set a change for something so much bigger than ourselves. But there is a way out. Much to our surprise, we have had the key the entire time.


PURAs awarded for student research

Hopkins has celebrated its status as the oldest research university in the U.S for the 137 years since it was founded. The Provost’s Undergraduate Research Awards (PURA) seek to enhance the founding research principle. On April 22, these awards of up to $2,500 were granted to over 20 undergraduates from across the University.


EPAC2 may be the key to curing type II diabetes

The next time you contemplate the glazed munchy selection at the FFC, do your pancreas a favor and think of this article. Consistently combating fatigue with sugary pick-me-ups can seriously burn out your beta cells, which can only lead to one thing: diabetes.


Eliminating the top two causes of death in children

You have probably suffered from one or maybe two of the leading causes of death in children around the world. Thankfully, you are still alive. This means that the two illnesses, which together claim the lives of over a quarter of all children across the globe, are preventable. The deadly culprits? Pneumonia and diarrhea.


A non-Darwinian theory of evolution proposed

We are surrounded by a limitlessly complex world. Plants, although simple and green on the surface, contain intricate machineries that allow it to wield its photosynthetic powers. Humans, too, have developed extremely complicated functions over a tortuous and long path known as evolution.


The pleasures of musical experience studied

Have you ever wondered if that amazing feeling you get while listening to your favorite song is anything like what others experience when they listen to their favorite music? There is a pleasure associated with those songs that we do not get by listening to random sounds put together. Researchers found that when we are indulging ourselves with some sweet melody, the auditory cortex is not the only part of the brain activated: emotion-associated regions and reward circuits are also stimulated.


Structure of telomerase can help advance cancer research

Sometimes, the key to understanding is to take a good, hard look. Scientists have been doing just that, training their eyes on the telomerase enzyme which is known to play a significant role in aging, cancer and other diseases. For the first time, researchers have mapped out the structure of the entire enzyme complex. The researchers from UCLA and UC Berkeley say this breakthrough could lead to new ways of combatting disease, particularly cancer.


JHU team wins first place at health contest

After completing an internship at the World Health Organization, an opportunity caught the eye of junior Kevin Wang: it was an invitation to compete in the prestigious International Emory Global Health Case Competition. The contest is designed for teams of college students to compete to develop the most innovative solution to a current global health issue.


Clearer mechanism of gout helps drug design

The packing away of Spring Fair food vendors also signifies the end of 2013’s fried Oreo and colossal turkey leg eating spree. Of course, we all know how detrimental those foods are to our health, but few of us are aware of the havoc expensive foods such as fish, mushrooms and asparagus can wreak on our well being, causing a condition characterized by recurrent agonizing pain in the joints.


Appetites are modulated by tanycytes

Debating whether or not to eat that warm and soft chocolate chip cookie can be tough: succumb to desire or avoid the extra calories? Despite the time wasted over the decision, cravings usually trump other considerations. However, there may finally be a way to suppress such cravings. Led by Mohammad K. Hajihosseini from the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences, researchers have identified stem cells that have the potential to control appetite.


Doppler effect changes time perception

With the sci-fi prospect of a time machine comes the inevitable question: can we go back in time? But how do we know traveling to the past is in fact going back? This is because humans perceive time as one-directional. We think time only moves forward and nothing in the past can be changed or experienced again. Surprisingly, the common perception of time as having a direction has been confirmed by physicists. Furthermore, physicists discovered that our perception of time changes depending on when an event occurred. The distortion in our perception of time is named the temporal Doppler Effect.


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