Supermassive Black Holes May have Emerged without Imploding a Massive Star; a New Study Reveals

Supermassive Black Holes May have Emerged without Imploding a Massive Star; a New Study Reveals

Formation of black holes may not have emerged from a star remnant. A recent study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that supermassive black holes may have formed directly without imploding a massive star. The research study ‘The Mass Function of Supermassive Black Holes in the Direct-collapse Scenario’ provides indirect evidence for the possibility of the direct formation of black holes. The discovery is based on the simple assumption that some supermassive black holes began to grow very fast within a short time span and suddenly stopped growing.

The mathematical model developed by researchers Shantanu Basu and Arpan Das of the University of Western Ontario provides an explanation for scientists on how black holes formed during the very early stages of our universe. The model was developed by calculating the mass function of supermassive black holes.

The findings also contradict with the earlier notion that the stellar mass black holes emerge when the center of a massive star collapses in upon itself. Shantanu Basu in a news release stated that the findings provide the indirect observational evidence that black holes originate from direct-collapses and not from stellar remnants.

Supermassive black holes were able to grow within a very short time span. But the production came to a halt at some point of time due to the radiation in the universe created by other black holes and stars. And this is the scenario of direct collapse, explained Basu.

Many supermassive black holes that are a billion times more massive than the sun have been discovered at high redshifts in the past ten years. This suggests the existence of such supermassive black holes in our universe within 800 million years after the big bang. The new findings which provide evidence for the presence of black holes formed by the direct collision in our early universe can be used in further research about supermassive black holes.

US Government is Starting a Nationwide Hunt for Robocalls

US Government is Starting a Nationwide Hunt for Robocalls

Robocallers have been annoying the US population for a noticeable period of time and the US government has finally decided to take the right decision. Announced on Tuesday, the US government has initiated one of the biggest and nationwide hunts for robocallers that are targeting the citizen. The mission will target an immense variety of companies and individuals that have been involved in the robocall business.

According to reports from the Federal Trade Commission, these individuals and companies have made more than one billion robocalls in the past. Most of these unwanted calls were regarding financial schemes though other reasons were also cited. It should be noted, however, that only a few cases have been filed so far. Out of the 100 cases that have been filed, five require criminal law enforcement actions.

Both telemarketers and scammers have been using robocalls to attract more people into their schemes. In the case of scammers, a noticeable number of people fall for these traps and end up losing a lot of money, which is, in some cases, thousands of dollars. The government, the justice department and local authorities from several states have come together to end this atrocity.

According to a federal complaint that was filed, a developer by the name of Derek Jason Bartoli was located at the major reason for the increasing number of robocalls in the country. This Florida man had created an easy-to-use robocalling tool that was then sold to a number of scammers and telemarketers, thus increasing the chances of getting a robocall.

Fraud and unsolicited telephone interruptions are some of the many reasons why robocalls are being hated by the public as well as the policymakers. Both these communities have been demanding prompt measures to keep this trend under control, thereby protecting the privacy and security of the customers.

Tesla is Building its Own Electric Vehicle Battery Cells

Tesla is Building its Own Electric Vehicle Battery Cells

Since its inception in the retail market, Tesla has been relying on Panasonic for the battery cells used in EVs produced by the company. According to the latest reports, however, the company has been working on its own EV battery cells. Employee sources quoted by CNBC have said that the company is working on advanced lithium-ion batteries that would be replacing what Panasonic is supplying right now.

The employees added that the company would soon start the big-scale production of these batteries. It has to be noted that Tesla has set up low-key research centers that are located near the main plants. The new batteries are being developed at one of these plants, added the employees. On any day, this step would be a new way for the electronic vehicle company to have an independent manufacturing cycle.

Delay in getting EV battery cells has been one of the major reasons why Tesla is not able to fulfill the various product-manufacturing deadlines it has set up. When the company starts producing its own cells, however, it can do more than overcoming these limitations. Judging by Tesla’s previous work, it’s also clear that these new battery cells would offer better range, durability and control for the vehicle manufacturer.

More importantly, there is also the point that Tesla won’t be tied up to Panasonic in case of emergencies. It is worth noting that nothing is wrong with the companies at this point, but there were rumors that Panasonic may face some issues, especially considering that it has signed contracts with Toyota as well. Elon Musk, to make things clear, has been critical of Panasonic from the very start.

This decision once again proves Tesla’s philosophy to stay as independent as it can, at least when it comes to production and quality control. It should be noted that all sources are still anonymous and there are not many official words from the Elon Musk firm.

Some Ancient Relatives of Present-day Crocodiles Have Been Found to be Herbivores

Some Ancient Relatives of Present-day Crocodiles Have Been Found to be Herbivores

Some of the crocodiles that lived 200 million years ago were vegetarian, says a recent study. The study shows that multiple groups of crocodyliforms around this time were herbivores. The study was published on Thursday in the scientific journal, Current Biology.

Keegan Melstrom, a co-author of the study was cited by the Science News saying, “Our study indicates that complexly-shaped teeth, which we infer to indicate herbivory, appear in the extinct relatives of crocodiles at least three times and maybe as many as six.” Melstrom is a doctoral student at the University of Utah. Most of the living relatives of these ancient crocodiles are carnivorous in nature. Due to their food habits, all of them have simple conical teeth structure. The extinct species which the researchers examined had a much complex pattern of teeth.

The researchers examined the teeth of the ancient species to understand their eating habits and their diet. Melstrom, along with his graduate advisor Randall Irmis, examined 16 different species of crocodyliforms that have gone extinct. Their team was able to study 146 teeth from these species. Considering the morphological characteristic along with their study of teeth from the species, they were able to infer what these crocodyliforms could possibly have eaten while alive.

The research proved that these herbivorous species appeared somewhere around the end-Triassic mass extinction. They had much complex teeth-pattern and diet compared to the present relatives. These species went extinct along with the dinosaurs around the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. The researchers are optimistic about reconstructing more such patterns related to diet in future studies. They are now looking at the species which are available only as toothless fossils. The study shows that the various herbivorous species thrived across the globe and at different points in time. It also hints at there being a few omnivorous species of the reptile.

RoboBee X-Wing, the Insectile Flying Robot Takes Flight

RoboBee X-Wing, the Insectile Flying Robot Takes Flight

A new flying robot has been developed that weighs less than a milligram. The self-powered robot is called as RoboBee X-Wing. Noah Jafferis and some of the colleagues at Harvard University have developed this new upgraded version.

The flying robot has six miniscule solar-powered cells. Each of the cells weighs 10 milligrams. The solar panel in the robot has been placed on the top, far removed from the rest of the body. This is done so that other parts do not interfere with its efficiency and the panel, in turn, doesn’t interfere with the air flow that the wings generate. The rest of the electronic part is placed on the bottom.

The developer says that the flying robot is still lighter for its size. It is 6.5cm in height and the wingspan is of 3.5cm. “If you needed to land on a leaf, you could, whereas a commercial quadcopter would be too heavy to do that,” said Jafferis, the lead author on the study. The four wings that come with this robot allow them to generate a 40% increase in the boost in the lift.

The wings are designed to start flapping under exposure to light. The robot has however been tested only under artificial lighting. It needs three times the intensity of natural sunlight, hence cannot be flown outside yet. The usual flight time for it in the lab last for about half a second.

The robot uses electrohydrodynamic thrust to move up in the air. It carries its power source and power circuitry along with it, making it the smallest ever flying robot to do that. The flying robot can produce nearly four times the lift of its size. The authors are looking towards increasing the size of the robot in the future. An increased area for the solar panels will provide more power for the robot to fly. The robot, however, has got a lot of room for improvement which future versions will hopefully be able to fill.

Non-organic Milk Contains Residue of Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Antibiotics, Suggests Study

Non-organic Milk Contains Residue of Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Antibiotics, Suggests Study

In the past decade, the world has witnessed an increasing demand for organic milk, among other products that are made organically. Adding points to that argument, a recent study has discovered that non-organic milk mostly contains the residue of pesticides, antibiotics and growth-hormones that were used at different levels of the milk production process. Organic milk, however, does not show this problem.

“To our knowledge, the present study is the first study to compare levels of pesticide in the U.S. milk supply by production method – conventional vs. organic. It is also the first in a decade to measure antibiotic and hormone levels and compare them by milk production type,” the researchers have noted in their opinion of the results of the study. That having said, experts believe that the results should be interpreted with caution.

The research was conducted by a group of researchers at Emory University, Atlanta but the funding involved contributions from a non-profit research organization, which goes by the name of The Organic Center. Public Health Nutrition is the name of the journal that published the study. The study was based on 69 non-organic milk samples the team had collected from retail stores across the United States.

The study says that while 60% of non-organic milk products were found to have residue content of the sorts mentioned above, the researchers could not detect their presence in organic milk products. The researchers noted that sulfamethazine and sulfathiazole were two of the major antibiotics, whose residue were found in the milk products.

It is clear that the study is quite limited from many aspects and that it needs further scientific justification. At this point, this cannot be generalized; nor can it be used to state that non-organic milk products cause a lot of problem to the consumers. However, as the researchers themselves believe, it’s a good place to start.

YouTube’s New Features will Give Users More Control Over Content

YouTube’s New Features will Give Users More Control Over Content

YouTube is one step ahead in putting the user into the driver’s seat. The Google-owned video platform will provide more personalized content by updating its features. YouTube in its official blog announced the new features that will give more control for users over the homepage and up next videos. According to the announcement that came on Wednesday, three specific changes will be rolling out in YouTube including exploring related videos and remove suggestions.

“These new features help you navigate the incredible breadth of content available on YouTube and more easily find great videos to watch,” stated Essam El-Dardiry, Product Manager of YouTube in the official blog. The user can easily explore topics and related videos on the Homepage and in Up Next Videos which will be based on their personalized suggestions. Removing suggestions for the videos’ user no longer interested in watching is another feature.

The user can remove suggestions by tapping the three-dot menu next to a video on the homepage or Up next and then tap ‘Don’t recommend channel.’ Already ‘Don’t recommend channel’ option is available in YouTube but the new feature makes things much easier. User will be able to learn more about why a video may be suggested as per the new feature. The user will get information about the video in a box underneath the video.

The rollout of the new features will be gradual. ‘Explore videos’ will be available for signed-in users in English on the Android YouTube app only whereas ‘remove suggestion’ feature will be available globally on Android and iOS devices. The information box feature can be accessed only by iOS users. YouTube has criticized for its algorithm in many instances. One among them was recommending inappropriate videos to kids. YouTube is trying to avoid such rabbit holes with the new features that give users more control and be transparent on how it works.

Study Finds that HPV Vaccination Prevents Cervical Cancer

Study Finds that HPV Vaccination Prevents Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is preventable through HPV vaccination. The recent study reveals that HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer what World Health Organization identifies as the fourth most common cancer in women. The study published in The Lancet found that the vaccination can reduce the rate of HPV infection and the presence of precancerous cells in the cervix in people. It can also reduce the rate of HPV related diseases in unvaccinated people since it leaves fewer HPV hosts according to the report of CNBC.

Researchers analyzed data from 14 high-income countries and looked at HPV rates, cases of genital warts and pre-cancerous cells in the cervix. The research finds that among all countries studied after five to eight years of vaccination, there was a significant decrease in the prevalence of two strains of HPV that cause 70 percentages of cervical cancers, HPV 16 and 18. The research also found a decrease in genital warts diagnoses among the vaccinated boys and older women. The research was funded by WHO along with the grants from Fonds de recherche du Quebec-Sante and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

According to WHO,  human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of cancers including cervical cancer, oropharyngeal cancers as well as genital warts. HPV vaccine was first introduced in 2006. More than 115 countries have implemented in their vaccination programs. WHO recommends that girls of age 9 to 13 receive two doses of vaccination.

From the findings of the study, it has proved that WHO calls for action to eliminate cervical cancer may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage is possible. Marc Brisson, a professor at Canada’s Laval University and one of the authors of the study said in an official statement. The authors note that the findings are not conclusive since the analysis is based on ecological studies. But the results suggest that HPV related diseases decreased in countries with higher vaccination rates.

Ford is Laying Off 12,000 Workers Across Europe

Ford is Laying Off 12,000 Workers Across Europe

Ford is laying off 12,000 workers across Europe as part of its plan to restructure the business operation in Europe. The motor company will also reduce the number of manufacturing facilities in Europe. Ford Motor Co. announced on Thursday that it is launching a new business model with a fresh vehicle line up. As part of the restructuring, the company will be laying off its workers and realign its operations. The restructuring as claimed by Dearborn, Michigan-based automakers would be the most comprehensive redesign in the history of its business in Europe.

Only 2000 jobs are fixed salary positions in the 12,000 jobs laying off across Europe. The left jobs are workers on hourly contracts or agency workers. Most job reduction will be voluntary separations as announced by the automakers. “Ford will be a more targeted business in Europe, consistent with the company’s global redesign, generating higher returns through our focus on customer needs and a lean structure,” said Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe in an official statement.

Ford will be closing several factories in Europe including the closure of the Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales,  a transmission plant in France and three facilities in Russia. The total manufacturing outposts in the region will be reduced to 18 facilities at the end of 2020. European business will be divided into three new business groups centered on customer needs such as Commercial Vehicles (CVs), Passenger Vehicles (PVs) and Imports. The company has also announced that the new European operating model and the resulting management organization will be effective from July 1.

The company is expected to release its first long-range all-electric Mustang inspired model this year. It will also manufacture sport utility vehicles in the coming years. Ford’s restructuring of its business operation is considered as part of its broader shift toward electric and other battery-powered vehicles which will be emission free.

Absence of Beneficial Bacteria from the Guts of Children May Lead to Food Allergy

Absence of Beneficial Bacteria from the Guts of Children May Lead to Food Allergy

Scientists have found a link between food allergy and there being a lack of beneficial bacteria in the intestines in a recent research. The scientists who worked on the research are from Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The research was published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Medicine.  A senior author working on the study, Talal Chatila, in the paper said, “The loss of these bacteria acts as a switch that makes children susceptible to food allergy.” She is the director of the Food Allergy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Lab mice were being tested in the primary stage of the research. The research however also examined the human gut for signs of bacteria and their role in it. The research team examined samples of stools from 56 such children suffering from food allergy. The samples were tested against stools from the ones that didn’t have a food allergy. Lab mice were injected with fecal matter from these two sources. The ones that had the beneficial bacteria in their guts survived the subsequent tests involving allergens. However, the ones that didn’t have them, developed a fatal condition called anaphylaxis.

In subsequent tests, the mice were injected with six species of bacteria from the clostridial order. Clostridia have been known to provide resistance against food allergies by previous studies. The bacteria helped the mice in resisting signs of allergy. However, the ones that were given other strains of bacteria remained unprotected.

A weakened immune system is reportedly the reason children become prone to such allergies. An increased absence of beneficial bacteria from children’s guts is credited to an unbalanced way of living. An increase in insufficient breastfeeding, caesarian births, use of antibiotics, etc., have contributed in harming the good bacteria in the children’s guts.

The cases of the allergy have been rapidly growing among children in the United States. Not less than 32 million American children have been affected by food allergy in the last ten years. The number amounts to approximately 8% of the population of children in the country.