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Natural born alpha males. How do leaders emerge?

Among those in leadership positions, there are many carriers of a particular variation of the CHRNB3 gene, British researchers found. Apparently, it is somehow connected with the innate leadership qualities. However, there are works showing that heredity is not the main thing and completely different factors contribute to the high social status.

In 2013, researchers from University College London (UK) reported that they discovered a DNA site responsible for human leadership qualities. It was a variant of the gene for the acetylcholine receptor CHRNB3.

This is a receptor for neurotransmitters – substances that transmit a nerve signal to the brain. One of the varieties of CHRNB – rs4950 – is more common in the DNA of people in leadership positions. Scientists came to such conclusions by analyzing the genetic data of four thousand volunteers and information about their professional and personal lives. However, scientists estimate the contribution of the rs4950 variant to the formation of leadership qualities at 24 percent probability. The rest depends on other factors.

As suggested by Chinese neurophysiologists, there may be a special zone in the cerebral cortex, the stimulation of which can turn the most insecure person into a leader. So far, it has been found only in mice. Scientists pushed two adult males in a narrow aisle and watched their reaction. As a rule, such situations ended in conflict, and one animal replaced another. But it was not only his physical strength. Rodent behavior was influenced by past victories and defeats. So, the mice behaved more aggressively if they were lucky in the course of preliminary experiments, or they were overly cautious if they had previously lost in fights with alpha males.

The researchers hypothesized that information about these events is stored in the frontal cortex of animals. They infected mice with a retrovirus, which caused neurons to produce proteins, which, in turn, made nerve cells susceptible to light: when they were irradiated with a blue laser, they turned on or off. Modified in this way, the mice again began to push against each other. And it turned out that if you activate these neurons in the omega brain, then the animals begin to push even the strongest and obviously dangerous males for them. This increased the number of their victories and increased the social status of losers among the congeners.

But disabling a group of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex of alpha males, on the contrary, made them too cautious. They retreated even in absolutely winning situations when rivals were much weaker. A similar area may be present in the human brain, the authors note. The study would help to better understand the causes of some mental illnesses. After all, it is known that men who consider themselves macho and often demonstrate their power over women are prone to mental disorders.

Unhappy alpha males

Health problems are common for alpha males in many animal populations. And it’s not just about the increased risk of injury. As Kenyan and American biologists have found, dominant males live in a state of constant intense stress. As a result, too many glucocorticoids accumulate in their blood – hormones that stimulate the body to work in minutes of danger. In a calm time, an increased concentration of these substances negatively affects the functioning of the immune system.

Scientists have observed for five years five flocks of baboons. They recorded the behavior of monkeys within communities and periodically measured the levels of testosterone and glucocorticoids in the excrement of males. It turned out that the concentration of stress hormones in the feces of leaders is on average several times higher than in the excrement of their deputies – the so-called beta males. These individuals support the leader and, as a result, enjoy the same benefits as he.

Moreover, the amount of glucocorticoids in the feces of the leaders was approximately the same as in the waste of the lowest-ranking males. It turned out that they experience the same level of stress, and in this sense, the position of the leader is not better than the status of “omega”. Earlier, it was shown that outsiders in primacy communities are weaker in immunity and more often suffer from heart problems and endocrine disruption. But with an increase in their position in the hierarchy, the monkeys begin to recover. As it turned out,  until they become leaders.

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Science & Technology

Can Internet be limited due to coronavirus Quarantine?

According to The Sun experts in the field of communications, the functions and capabilities of the Internet for the British in the near future may be limited, to ensure the operation of critical sites and applications.

The problem is that with the development of the pandemic, networks are experiencing a critical increase in traffic, which puts strong pressure on the UK’s mobile and broadband infrastructure. Social distancing means that many Britons are now working at home. And closing schools means that some British children have more free time than ever.

This dramatically changes the dynamics of the Internet load. In particular, Vodafone told The Sun that their web traffic grew by 30%. It is important to note that peak traffic now occurs between 06:00 and 08:00, decreases slightly by noon and increases again in the evening, but in much larger volumes than in the morning. Therefore, now, as experts and insiders tell us, the government is busy with large-scale projects on “Internet rationing”. This does not seem to imply restricting users to a certain amount of data, but it means a certain priority for important data. For example, streaming video and games are already not very important data.

Experts advise: “In this difficult time, users should think about a backup connection, whether it be another SIM card or a new data transfer provider.”

Actually, providers are already slowing down, reducing the bitrate of their videos. They typically reduce the quality of streams by about 25% in the UK and Europe to reduce network load.

Now the question arises: can British networks cope with the growing load?

“Our networks remain strong,” Vodafone spokesperson told The Sun. “We have enough stock to meet growing demand and maintain global connectivity with the UK.”

It all looks pretty weird. The load on the network appeared on the network for a long time and the network does an excellent job. As we are told by insiders at Internet companies, this surge was predictable and providers have long been busy purchasing and installing additional equipment. One UK chain said they have a 100% margin of safety. Now the new “load” was 20%, which means that they still have 80% of their unused bandwidth to cope with any significant increase in usage.

Moreover, new equipment is already being installed. And for mobile networks there should not be any problems at all. Companies are constantly facing hurricanes and snowfalls. Does someone lose their mobile connection? It does not appear to be the case because mobile operators have many tools to redirect data flows. As a result, the new involved channels begin to experience a radically increased load. Nevertheless, nothing stops nowhere and the Internet does not disappear.

At the moment, the experts interviewed call the government’s new initiative crazy and idiotic, expressing the hope that officials have the intelligence not to bother with their valuable instructions on rationing the Internet.

As The Sun has outlined, high traffic is not a problem, but rather good news. People sit at home, pay for cable channels, buy upgrades and more. Accordingly, providers buy new hardware, hire new people. Equipment manufacturers and so on are loaded with work. All is well. 

This is though, only the beginning, as the pandemic has given many leading companies a backside, forcing them to invest in organizing the work of people at home. Plus, a similar stimulus to the pandemic boot is given to the education system. Similar reforms beg in medicine and in sales networks, and so on.

Further, when the situation is toughened up and it is no longer possible for ‘systems’ to cope, disruption in the UK’s communications networks will be on the verge. 

 The trend may be in front of us. 

 

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US military has learned to quietly track radio signals of all frequencies

US military experiments have shown , that they created a quantum receiver is able to pick up signals from all radio frequency range.

Scientists from the Army Research Laboratory have developed a quantum detector capable of detecting signals from the entire spectrum of radio waves with just one antenna. Conventional instruments cannot recognize such a wide range of radiation unless they are equipped with multiple antennas and amplifiers.

The American quantum detector uses Rydberg supersensitive excited atoms to detect electromagnetic fields and waves. You can turn an ordinary atom into a Rydberg atom using laser radiation.

An electron on the outer shell, usually a single shell, is transferred using a laser an amount of energy close to the ionization threshold – the separation of an electron from an atom. As a result, the excited electron moves away from the nucleus. The distance between the electron and the nucleus can increase up to a million times. At such distances, an excited electron feels a weaker electrostatic field of the nucleus and reacts more strongly to external electromagnetic influences.

In the work, scientists quantified the sensitivity of the sensor to the effects of oscillating electric fields. The field oscillation frequency that the receiver successfully registers ranges from 0 to 100 gigahertz. Such results cannot be achieved using devices based on electro-optical crystals or passive electronics with a dipole antenna.

“Another advantage of a quantum receiver is its size,” said David Meyer, a research fellow at the US Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Laboratory, “The new sensors are small and almost invisible. In addition, quantum mechanics allows a very accurate calibration of each sensor. ”

Rydberg’s atoms have recently begun to be used in devices for the detection of electromagnetic fields, including radio signals. 

Thanks to a new study, a quantitative description of the sensitivity of such detectors has appeared. In the future, scientists intend to enhance sensitivity in order to record even the weakest signals.

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How to turn a planet into a spaceship

Man has long guessed that nothing lasts forever under the sun. In the middle of the last century, it turned out that our eternity did not last forever. After 5.5 billion years, it will begin to expand slowly, and its surface – to cool … The coming cataclysms do not promise anything good to our planet.

Calculations show that after several billion years, in the phase of maximum expansion of the Sun, the current orbit of the Earth will be inside its plasma ocean. The fate of the Earth is not so clear, but nonetheless tragic.

Since the Sun during its transformation into a red giant will lose about a third of its mass, its gravity will greatly weaken. It can be expected that the radius of the Earth’s orbit due to this will be extended by about 60 million kilometers and the Earth, most likely, will not fall into the solar furnace. However, its surface will heat up to at least 2000 degrees – with all the obvious consequences. According to another model, later tidal forces will slow down the Earth and it will dive into the atmosphere of the Sun.

It seems that these forecasts should not bother us – there are closer dangers. Since the birth of the Sun, its luminosity has been steadily increasing. Already after 1-2 billion years, the oceans will evaporate and the surface of the planet will be unsuitable for life (in fact, serious troubles will begin much earlier). But, let’s say, our distant descendants will somehow cope with this threat. The question arises: will they have to build space squadrons sooner or later in order to get out of their native planet, or can they save it from burning in a solar furnace?

It turns out that such opportunities exist and are even being discussed. One of them, was proposed in 1982 by M. Taube, a nuclear technology specialist from the Zurich Polytechnic Institute. He recommends turning our planet into a gigantic spaceship and, without waiting for disaster, to go on a long journey beyond the orbit of Pluto. Taube believes that this can be done by maintaining the daily rhythm of the Earth’s rotation, the change of which would entail global geological cataclysms.

How so? Taube proposes to put 24 gigantic bundles at the equator at the same distance from each other, including hundreds of missiles with 30-km nozzles. Each missile system must be switched on once a day half an hour before noon local time, and it should work for an hour. As a result, a reactive force, directed along its radius vector in the direction opposite to the Sun, will continuously act on the Earth. This will allow the Earth to move away from the Sun (naturally, without parting with the Moon) along a slowly unwinding spiral trajectory, which will gradually lead it out of Pluto’s orbit.

Taube thought out all the details. The energy for such a flight will be provided by thermonuclear reactors – nothing better is yet to be expected. Each rocket during operation and for every second, will throw into space 100 tons of super-hot hydrogen flying out of its nozzle at a speed of 300 km / s. Calculations showed that not so much time will pass from the start of the trip to its finish, only several tens of thousands of years. Naturally, maneuvering the Earth in space will not work, and therefore, it will be necessary to destroy or move the asteroids that may be in its path ahead of time.

Planetary bookkeeping

Will humanity have enough resources to realize such a daunting task? The right amount of hydrogen is 10% of the mass of the Earth. Where does it come from if the total amount of this element in our planet is much less than one percent? Taube proposes to produce hydrogen either on Jupiter or on another giant planet, where it is in abundance.

The Zurich prophet took care of satisfying the energy needs of earthlings at the end of the journey. At first they will be heated by the swollen Sun, but what about when only a shriveling white dwarf remains from it? One of the possible solutions is to extract deuterium on Jupiter and transport it to the surface of the dwarf in order to support fusion reactions that occur with the release of energy. Taube estimated that such an artificial star would provide our descendants with heat and light for a hundred billion years.

In 2008, Taube slightly modified this plan. In particular, he proposed to stretch the Earth’s journey to the Kuiper belt for 10 million years and put it into orbit around the artificial Sun created by the merger of a couple of tens of gas giants confiscated from other stars. So our descendants have many opportunities. But will there be a desire?

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