Fur Real Crystal! Say, Pardon my boldness, as it is not my intention to ruffle fur or feathers. I was just noticing that diving suit. With the right velvety material, you can make it resemble a Panda or something like that, maybe even the Yeti, if you happen to be a tall lady. Both seem to be under represented it seems.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11884 on: Dec 10th, 2014, 09:22am »
GOOD MORNING UFOCASEBOOKERS!
Injectable 3-D vaccines could fight cancer, infectious diseases
Date: December 8, 2014
Source: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
One of the reasons cancer is so deadly is that it can evade attack from the body's immune system, which allows tumors to flourish and spread. Scientists can try to induce the immune system, known as immunotherapy, to go into attack mode to fight cancer and to build long lasting immune resistance to cancer cells. Now, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) show a non-surgical injection of programmable biomaterial that spontaneously assembles in vivo into a 3D structure could fight and even help prevent cancer and also infectious disease such as HIV. Their findings are reported in Nature Biotechnology.
"We can create 3D structures using minimally-invasive delivery to enrich and activate a host's immune cells to target and attack harmful cells in vivo," said the study's senior author David Mooney, Ph.D., who is a Wyss Institute Core Faculty member and the Robert P. Pinkas Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard SEAS.
Tiny biodegradable rod-like structures made from silica, known as mesoporous silica rods (MSRs), can be loaded with biological and chemical drug components and then delivered by needle just underneath the skin. The rods spontaneously assemble at the vaccination site to form a three-dimensional scaffold, like pouring a box of matchsticks into a pile on a table. The porous spaces in the stack of MSRs are large enough to recruit and fill up with dendritic cells, which are "surveillance" cells that monitor the body and trigger an immune response when a harmful presence is detected.
"Nano-sized mesoporous silica particles have already been established as useful for manipulating individual cells from the inside, but this is the first time that larger particles, in the micron-sized range, are used to create a 3D in vivo scaffold that can recruit and attract tens of millions of immune cells," said co-lead author Jaeyun Kim, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University and a former Wyss Institute Postdoctoral Fellow.
Synthesized in the lab, the MSRs are built with small holes, known as nanopores, inside. The nanopores can be filled with specific cytokines, oligonucleotides, large protein antigens, or any variety of drugs of interest to allow a vast number of possible combinations to treat a range of infections.
"Although right now we are focusing on developing a cancer vaccine, in the future we could be able to manipulate which type of dendritic cells or other types of immune cells are recruited to the 3D scaffold by using different kinds of cytokines released from the MSRs," said co-lead author Aileen Li, a graduate student pursuing her Ph.D. in bioengineering at Harvard SEAS. "By tuning the surface properties and pore size of the MSRs, and therefore controlling the introduction and release of various proteins and drugs, we can manipulate the immune system to treat multiple diseases."
Once the 3D scaffold has recruited dendritic cells from the body, the drugs contained in the MSRs are released, which trips their "surveillance" trigger and initiates an immune response. The activated dendritic cells leave the scaffold and travel to the lymph nodes, where they raise alarm and direct the body's immune system to attack specific cells, such as cancerous cells. At the site of the injection, the MSRs biodegrade and dissolve naturally within a few months.
So far, the researchers have only tested the 3D vaccine in mice, but have found that it is highly effective. An experiment showed that the injectable 3D scaffold recruited and attracted millions of dendritic cells in a host mouse, before dispersing the cells to the lymph nodes and triggering a powerful immune response.
The vaccines are easily and rapidly manufactured so that they could potentially be widely available very quickly in the face of an emerging infectious disease. "We anticipate 3D vaccines could be broadly useful for many settings, and their injectable nature would also make them easy to administer both inside and outside a clinic," said Mooney.
Since the vaccine works by triggering an immune response, the method could even be used preventatively by building the body's immune resistance prior to infection.
"Injectable immunotherapies that use programmable biomaterials as a powerful vehicle to deliver targeted treatment and preventative care could help fight a whole range of deadly infections, including common worldwide killers like HIV and Ebola, as well as cancer," said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. who is also Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard SEAS. "These injectable 3D vaccines offer a minimally invasive and scalable way to deliver therapies that work by mimicking the body's own powerful immune-response in diseases that have previously been able to skirt immune detection."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11886 on: Dec 10th, 2014, 3:25pm »
Navy Tests Super Precise Laser Weapon in Persian Gulf
by Patrick Tucker 10 December 2014 12:53 PM ET
It’s a warm November day in the Persian Gulf. The radar system of the USS Ponce detects an incoming vessel. An operator aboard the ship, working a controller not dissimilar to a PlayStation 4 handset, takes aim at the target using the Navy’s Laser Weapon System or LaWS high-aperture telescope. He sees a red, rigid-hulled inflatable boat on fast approach. The operator executes the command to fire. No sound emerges from the deck of the Ponce; there is no burst of gunpowder. The laser precisely destroys a three-foot high stack of shells on the red boat but misses entirely a decoy human just a few inches away.
From September to November, sailors aboard the Ponce, currently deployed to the Persian Gulf, tested the LaWS in a variety of drills and simulations. “They use it every day” for training and targeting, the chief of the Office of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
It hasn’t fired on any actual adversaries yet. But in the event that Iran, the Islamic State or some other adversary attempted to attack the Ponce, possibly with a drone, the ship’s captain has “all the authority” to use the weapon in defense of the vessel, according to Klunder. While the Geneva Convention prohibits the use of lasers directly against human targets, it does allow for the destruction of threatening boats or its components.
That’s one reason why the weapon’s precision is so important. An operator can use it strike a target on a very small craft without hitting the human.
The Navy has been conducting live experiments with high-energy weapons since 2011, when they demonstrated an earlier version of the LaWS that could successfully shoot down drones and sink small boats. The most recent tests surpassed their expectations in how quickly and effectively it tracked and destroyed ever more difficult targets. Klunder, in his briefing, touched on the performance telescope as a particularly key improvement, calling it a sort of “Hubble telescope at sea.” When pointed at a potential enemy craft in the far distance “we’re picking up a bad person on that ship drinking a soda.” (Klunder could not comment on the actual range.)
The laser, powered by 100 kilowatts of energy, sends a 30-kilowatt blast to the target but can go lower for different effects. More importantly, the current system can fire within a nanometer range of 2 to 3 as opposed to a 10, which was considered cutting-edge just a few years ago. The more focused energy beam detonates targets exponentially quicker than previous versions of the laser.
The weapon can do more than simply blow things up. Because it can fire differing amounts of directed energy at a target, it can also be deployed to blind or “dazzle” an enemy rather than just destroy it. The Navy demonstrated that capability this fall in a face-off with an incoming drone, which the weapon blinded before destroying it. “We knocked an [unmanned aerial vehicle] out of the sky in literally two seconds before it could even catch on fire,” said Klunder. “We not only burned a hole through but destroyed everything inside it.”
Drone hunting is the raison d’etre for the Navy’s laser system. As the price of unmanned aerial vehicles continues to drop, many military scholars are anticipating a near future where hundreds if not thousands of cheaply-armed drones are able to effectively swarm a target. “Low-cost uninhabited systems can be built in large numbers, ‘flooding the zone’ and overwhelming enemy defenses by their sheer numbers,” Center for a New American Security author Paul Scharre writes in this report on the future of swarm robotics. The laser system offers a counter-drone alternative that, at an estimated cost $1 per shot, is far cheaper than ship to air missiles and far safer for ship crews than gun-powder based traditional ordinance. Klunder put the actual cost at closer to 59 cents per shot, which he contrasted to a standard missile, which can start at $750,000 but reach up to $2 million per unit.
The beams will get more powerful in the next couple of years. The Office of Naval Research is looking to field a much more powerful, 100 to 150-kilowatt version by 2016. “That will expand the mission set beyond UAVs,” said Klunder. They’ll also find their way onto different types of vehicles. The military also has ongoing plans to deploy laser weapons aboard Army trucks (the High-Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator) and planes (the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s HELLADS laser).
If those systems can prove as accurate and rapid as the Navy’s LaWS system then more and more vehicles, possibly unmanned, will be deployed with lasers in the years ahead.
In the popular G.I. Joe cartoon from the 1980s, the forces of good and evil battle one another on with a variety of laser weapons and seem never capable of hitting anything. Today’s newest laser weapon is terrifyingly accurate.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11891 on: Dec 12th, 2014, 10:21am »
GOOD MORNING Z
Ring of death: Scot Young associates 'pursued by Russian mafia over Project Moscow'
Friend claims Scot Young's friends, who all died in similar circumstances, were also involved in mysterious property deal
By Victoria Ward 2:34PM GMT 12 Dec 2014
Three members of the so-called ‘Ring of Death’ in tycoon Scot Young’s closest circle were being pursued by the Russian mafia over massive debts after being scammed over a vast retail and property deal, it has been claimed.
Mr Young, who plunged to his death from his London penthouse on Monday afternoon, claimed he had lost his entire fortune in Project Moscow, a highly secretive property development scheme that collapsed in 2006.
But a friend has now revealed that some of his closest associates, who died in strikingly similar circumstances, had also ploughed money into the doomed scheme which had left them millions of pounds in debt.
He said that Boris Berezovsky coordinated the project, although he insisted the Russian oligarch, who was also found dead after an apparent suicide, had no idea it was a scam.
“Scot Young, Robert Curtis and Paul Castle all had to come up with a certain amount of money between them, somewhere around £140 million, although it was not limited to that,” the friend told the Telegraph.
“They were asked for the money but were then offered a quasi-deal whereby other Russians lent them more money to put in as a deposit, as a loan. The original sum was matched again.
“So they are now in it to the tune of at least £280 million and are already in debt. But then the so-called planners in the Russian government suddenly pulled the plug and said they were not able to go through with the deal and all the money that had been put in was lost.
“Where did the money go? That is the question.”
The friend said Mr Curtis was convinced it had been a scam and they had all been set up. He believed it was a way of extracting cash from a group of wealthy British businessmen whilst at the same time tying them into a massive debt.
Mr Curtis, 47, a millionaire property tycoon who once dated the model Caprice, died two years ago after falling under a Tube train in north-west London.
Like Mr Young, he had made a fortune in the London property market and enjoyed a jet-set lifestyle with a fleet of luxurious cars and a wardrobe full of designer clothes.
But like Mr Young, he was eventually left struggling under huge debts. Mr Curtis had been badly affected in 2010 by the suicide of Mr Castle, a fellow property entrepreneur who also died under a Tube train.
In March last year, Mr Berezovsky, a close business associate of all three men, was found dead at his Berkshire home.
Project Moscow was billed as a massive retail development.
The friend said: “It was something that Moscow could well do and do quite well considering the rise of the new middle class with money to spend.
“On paper, it was a good idea but they got sucked in, as did others.”
He said this was the reason Mr Young was given a warning by the Russian mafia two years ago, when he was hung out of a hotel window and told he would be dropped if he did not come up with some money.
“Robert was terrified,” he added. ”He knew how serious it was. These are frightening, frightening people.”
Last month, a fifth member of the circle, Johnny Elichaoff, 55, the former husband of the television presenter Trinny Woodall, died after falling from Whiteleys shopping centre in west London, although it is not known if he was involved in Project Moscow.
A sixth man, lawyer Stephen Curtis, who introduced Mr Young, My Curtis and Mr Castle to his Russian contacts, died in a mysterious helicopter crash, a week after telling friends he feared for his life.
Mr Curtis was killed when his brand new £1.5m helicopter crashed just a mile from Bournemouth airport in 2004 and although investigators found no evidence of foul play, friends suspect it was more than just an accident.
Scotland Yard said Mr Young’s death was not being treated as suspicious and has referred the matter to the coroner.