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Scientists decoded the giant squid genome and saw that this creature has a very developed brain

Giant squids of the genus Architeutis are one of the largest invertebrate creatures, which, according to official data, can reach about 8-10 meters in length, and twice as much according to unofficial ones.

Pictures of live squids were first obtained by Japanese researchers in 2004, before that scientists had ideas about giant squids only from their remains found in the stomachs of sperm whales or washed ashore.

Until now, not a single giant squid fell into the hands of scientists, which is associated not only with the fact that these creatures live mainly at great depths, but that that they rarely swim to the surface, as they sperm whale’s favorite treat.

A relatively small giant squid of the Architeuthis dux species, reaching a length of “only” 4 meters

The genome of giant squid was analyzed by a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), as well as researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory of the State of Massachusetts under the leadership of Caroline Albertin. In total, this group sorted the genomes of several cephalopods at once, including octopus, cuttlefish and nautilus mollusk.

DNA samples of a giant squid were taken from a frozen piece of flesh of this creature, found many years ago on the ocean and preserved in one of the laboratories.

Researchers first found that the size of the giant squid genome is not that far behind the human genome. The giant squid had about 2.7 billion complementary pairs of DNA, which is about 90% of the human genome.

Although the size of the genome is not necessarily related to the creature’s complexity and intellectual development, more than a hundred giant squid genes have been linked to a family of specific protocadherin proteins that are responsible for complex brain structure.

The remains of a giant squid at the Smithsonian Museum.

According to Caroline Albertin, as a rule, these proteins are found in very little (or not at all) in invertebrates, and the presence of more than 100 protocadherins in the giant squid genome can be compared to the finding of a “smoking gun”, because this directly indicates that these creatures are very smart.

By the way, in the octopus genome in 2015, the same proteins were also found in approximately the same amount.

Other unusual finds include a unique set of genes responsible for the growth and development of giant squid, which were not in the genome of octopus, cuttlefish and nautilus. This probably explains why giant squids grow so huge.

The results of this curious study were published in the scientific journal GigaScience.

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Science & Technology

A picture from the Internet killed Samsung smartphones

The image from the network led to the breakdown of Samsung smartphones. The image was shared by an insider of Ice Universe on his Twitter.

“Never set this picture as wallpaper, especially on Samsung smartphones,” said the blogger, emphasizing that the image from the Internet can break the device. Despite the warning, Ice Universe made a link to the landscape with an image of a flooded island in the setting sun “for enthusiasts.”

Users of Samsung smartphones in the comments confirmed that the mysterious image can really “kill” the device. In particular, after setting the picture as wallpaper, the phone may reboot or turn off, which is fraught with data loss. The comments explained that the cause of the failure could be an incorrect color profile of the file that the system cannot process.

The author later clarified that Samsung was aware of the problem and had already released a special update. The blogger also published a landscape breaking smartphones on the Chinese Weibo service, noting that when loading the social network automatically changes the color profile of the picture.

Samsung device owners who set the image as wallpaper were advised to remove it through safe mode. If the device does not boot in the selected mode, then a clean installation of Android should be performed on the smartphone.

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Science & Technology

The first ever SpaceX rocket launch with crew will be shown online

May 27, 2020 may go down in the history of astronautics as the day when people first reached the orbit of the Earth on aircraft, fully developed by a private company and owned by it. Previously, without the participation of state organizations, people were only launched into suborbital flights.

The SpaceX-created by Elon Mask, a partially reusable heavy Falcon 9 booster rocket and the Crew Dragon passenger ship, should launch today from the launch site at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The task – to deliver to the International Space Station two NASA astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Benken.

Elon Musk tweeted a photograph of the launch site this early morning:

The live broadcast of the launch, which is tentatively scheduled for 16:33 by the east coast of the United States, can be viewed on the official NASA YouTube channel:

As confirmed by CBS News in the press service of the White House, President Donald Trump, despite the ongoing epidemic of COVID-19, decided to personally attend the historic launch and will arrive at Cape Canaveral. Last week, Trump said he was “thinking” about visiting the cosmodrome and added that he would gladly send journalists on a rocket into space to get rid of them for a while. 

True, the start may still be postponed due to bad weather. If the conditions prove to be unfavorable, it will be postponed to the 30th or 31st of May.

The first SpaceX passenger ship, the Crew Dragon, is an evolution of the Dragon transporter, which has recently made several deliveries to the ISS. In total, it can take on board up to 7 crew members, but this time only two will fly, and the rest of the space will be taken by cargo.

The interior of the ship reminds of sci-fi films, and touch screens are used for control, as in electric cars of another company Ilona Mask, Tesla.

The last time the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its astronauts from the United States on an American spacecraft in July 2011. After the crash of the “space shuttle” Columbia in 2003, it was decided to gradually phase out the shuttle program and focus on developing a new ship that would also be suitable for traveling to the moon.

The first manned space flight, organized by a private company, took place back in 2004 – the SpaceShipOne rocket plane with pilot Brian Bonnie on board, reached a height of 100 km above the surface in a suborbital flight and successfully returned to Earth. For comparison, the altitude of the orbit of the ISS, where the Crew Dragon astronauts go, exceeds 400 km. 

SpaceShipOne was developed and launched by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a joint venture between Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and engineer Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites.

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Scientists have created a robotic eye that is completely similar to human

The developers plan to make it completely autonomous due to power from sunlight.

Scientists have created an artificial eye, the device of which almost completely copies the structure of the human organ of vision. Its diameter is about two centimeters, it has a retina made of nanowires and a lens for focusing light instead of the lens. The article describing the development was published by the scientific journal Nature.

We can see due to the fact that the light that enters the eyes passes inside them through the lens system and enters the photoreceptors in the retina. They convert particles of light into signals that are transmitted to the brain. Scientists have long been trying to reconstruct this complex system to create robots or in order to try to restore lost vision to people.

Another and relatively successful attempt to achieve this was made by scientists led by Zhiyong Fang of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The artificial eye that they created looks like a ball about two centimeters in diameter, filled with a fluid that conducts electric current. The eye of an adult is about the same size, inside it is also filled with a jelly-like liquid.

The device can see thanks to an artificial retina made of photosensitive nanowires. They are made on the basis of perovskite – a hybrid material, which due to its unique structure is now widely used in solar panels. Nanowires react to light and transmit a signal about it further like the photoreceptors of the human eye.

To test whether this eye can see, scientists projected images of several letters onto it. The device successfully recognized the letters I, E, and Y. However, while it creates an image of rather poor quality – about 100 pixels, compared with 120-140 megapixels of the human eye.

For operation, the device needs an external power source. However, scientists plan to make the artificial eye self-contained so that the device works like a small solar cell.

Among other plans of scientists – to check whether it is possible to subculture these nanowires to the human optical nerve. In addition, the developers hope to increase the quality of the picture to the level of the human eye and even surpass it by an order of magnitude.

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