Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 24, 2020

Science & Technology

Probes discover radiation belt around the Earth

It has long been known that there are two radiation belts — the inner and outer belts — surrounding our planet. Recently, however, NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission brought to light a third radiation belt, an important discovery that goes to show that even the supposedly best-understood theories may need amending.

Biological basis for politics debated

Ever talked to someone from a different political party and wondered what on earth they were thinking? A recent study shows that the difference between how liberals and conservatives make decisions may be more fundamental than you think.  Recent research has found that parts of the brain involved with risky decision-making falls along party lines.

Solutions offered for proctoring online courses

Not only has technology revolutionized the classroom experience for students, in some cases it has actually replaced the classroom itself. Many universities are taking advantage of widespread Internet access and computer usage to offer online courses. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are free classes that are offered by many different universities, including Harvard, M.I.T., Vanderbilt and Duke. While convenience is a major benefit of having MOOCs, the risk of cheating on exams cannot be overlooked.

Organic molecule detected in space

For many years, scientists have speculated when and where life originated on Earth. Diverse theories range from cosmic deliveries of organic compounds to local synthesis of amino acids in the Primordial Soup of a young Earth. Some theories settle with a compromise between the two. The most popular idea suggests an Earth bombarded by comets and asteroids which brought building blocks of life onto the planet. This notion hinges on one important premise: that there are organic compounds in outer space.

Finding new ways to detect space threats

Seven thousand tons of dense rock hurtles towards the Earth in a fiery cloud, exploding into smaller fragments about 20 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. The sheer force of the meteor’s impact with the atmosphere results in a blinding flash and releases the destructive blast of a sonic boom, shattering glass and triggering alarms for miles and miles around.

SciTech Talk: Smallpox, self-control & ancient coins

Precautionary measures against smallpox: The last natural case of smallpox was recorded on Oct. 26, 1977 in Somalia. Since the WHO and the CDC put forth vast efforts for international vaccination programs, this day is celebrated as an anniversary of the virus’ eradication.

Vital proteins in HIV infection found

HIV poses a great challenge to researchers because of the way it uses the human immune system to grow and multiply:  the more the body tries to combat the virus, the more HIV can replicate. Hopkins researchers, however, recently made a major leap in understanding the virus’ mechanisms. They discovered 25 proteins, which they believe are critical in the process of infection with HIV-1, the most common form of the virus.

Research narrows down search for possible fifth fundamental force

The Standard Model of physics is currently associated with four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But some particle physicists have proposed a fifth force that would extend the Standard Model, which describes matter and the way it interacts by breaking down matter into a number of particles. In a study published in the Feb. 22 issue of the journal Science, Larry Hunter of Amherst College and his colleagues at Amherst and the University of Texas at Austin have narrowed down the search for what scientists call “long-range spin-spin interactions” that would be tied to such a fifth force. This force would involve electrons, protons and neutrons interacting over long distances.

Infant cured of HIV after rapid ARV treatment

Researchers have named a now two-and-a-half year old child the first infant “functionally cured” of HIV following rapid antiretroviral treatment after birth. Deborah Persaud, lead author of the report and a virologist at the Hopkins Children’s Center, made the announcement along with her two co-investigators in Atlanta on Sunday at the 20th Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

Fruit flies consume alcohol to combat wasps

While humans continue to bicker about the legal drinking age, fruit flies have developed their own unique policy: alcohol before birth. A new study out of Emory University has shown that fruit flies lay their eggs in an alcoholic environment, essentially feeding their unhatched young booze, to protect them from parasitic wasps. This new spin on parenting is a creative defense tactic that can actually save the lives of fruit fly larvae.

Genetics affect some responses to stress

Walking through Brody or MSE on any given day, almost anyone could overhear the typical student bemoaning how much work they have or how stressed they feel. Even though stress is practically programmed into the college experience, different students handle pressure differently and responses can vary.

HGF improves damaged alveoli by binding to MET

Revenge against emphysema, a deadly and overbearing disease, has been strategically plotted in order to defend and protect the lives of the more than 20 million Americans engaged in a battle with the disease. Thankfully, researchers have discovered ways to ameliorate symptoms that are presented in emphysema patients.

Nutrition explained: digesting fad diets

For New Year’s resolution-ists, new eating and exercise plans have either proven their worth or fizzled out by now. The desperate search for the perfect path to health continues for many, be they a competitive athlete reaching for a personal record, or just someone looking to cut back on their daily frappuccinos from Starbucks.

Myopia studied as a health concern

It’s easy for many of us to correct nearsightedness — we go to the eye doctor, pick out a pair of glasses or fill a prescription for contact lenses, and voilà, we greatly improved vision. Thus, nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is something that we may not consider much as a public health concern. However, researchers at Hopkins and across the world believe there to be a better treatment for this prevalent condition that can be derived through genomic studying.

Youth alcohol brands on demand identified

Though widely publicized as the quintessential college experience, underage drinking takes a toll on American youth. Every year alcohol causes an average 4,700 deaths in the U.S. among youth under the legal drinking age of 21, according to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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