Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 4, 2023

Science & Technology

Birds relied on four wings instead of two

The blue jay, Hopkins’s school mascot, is named after and commonly known for the impressive blue color of its feathers. However, what may be more impressive than having two beautiful wings is having four of them.

Donor exchange raises transplant rates

Organ transplants are some of the most complex medical procedures imaginable, especially those that involve a chain of numerous donors. Kidney paired donation, or KPD, is one form of chain strategy and a recent Hopkins study shows that greater use of this exchange mechanism would help more patients receive transplants.

Database expedites diagnoses of rare diseases

As the field of genetics has burgeoned in the past decade with new gene analyzing technologies, it seems as though we are discovering new genes every day that are responsible for diseases like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. With the massive amount of genetic data studied each day, it has become difficult for various gene labs to collaborate and organize new genetic information in a coherent manner.

Gas emissions will decrease by 2050

With every purchase of a Toyota Prius or discovery of a new alloy or element that could be used for efficient engine design, our world has been gradually compensating for the vast pollution we have built up over generations. The United States, which is the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide behind China, lists the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as one of the greater challenges that we face, as our economy has relied on fossil fuels as a central form of energy production since the Industrial Revolution.

Bond found on white dwarf stars

When I was young, I was particularly fond of cars. However, where I’m from, people are not supposed to drive at the age of five. As a compromise, I was given a model car. Although not completely satisfied, I had to settle with the miniature version of what I wanted.

Two rats communicate with brain signals

If you have ever stared at a cage of rats, wondering what they are saying to each other as they squeak nonsensically, you may be interested in a few rats that were recently shown to able to communicate with each other through brain-brain connections with the help of prosthetics.

PTSD affects ICU patients under stress

One cringes upon even thinking about the gruesome battlefield memories that must haunt the minds of war veterans after witnessing such unimaginable, ruthless sights. It is not surprising to find that many of these soldiers have come back from war physically and emotionally injured by these experiences in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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.