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Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world?

Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world? 92

(University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

All people on our planet want to be healthy and live as long as possible, but the world is full of dangerous diseases. However, despite the efforts of thousands of scientists from all over the world to develop a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases, few today are able to survive at least 100 years. With all this, animals live near us, which can boast of longevity and protection from disease and without any medication. One of them is naked mole rats, which have a record life for rodents of up to 30 years. The study, the results of which were published in a scientific journal Biogerontology, revealed the secret of their longevity.

Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world? 93

Naked diggers cannot be called the cutest creatures on the planet.

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are not the most pleasant looking animals, but the features of their body are truly amazing. For example, they are completely fearless of pain from thermal and chemical burns, and also have a strong immunity to cancer. Previously, scientists believed that diggers are completely protected against cancer but in 2016 they still managed to find a couple of individuals with cancerous tumors. However, their cancer incidence rate is extremely low and they survive to the age of 30. For comparison, the lifespan of mice does not exceed two years.

What is the secret of longevity of naked diggers?

According to scientists, the secret of longevity of naked diggers is hidden in their living conditions. As a rule, these unusual animals are found in dry savannahs and semi-deserts. But they do not live on a hot surface, but in underground tunnels at a depth of about 2 meters. The length of the underground passages can reach 5 kilometers, and the width of the tunnels is about 4 centimeters. It is also known that these excavators live in colonies of 70-80 individuals. Perhaps the longevity of these animals is associated with life in cold conditions with a minimum amount of oxygen.

Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world? 94

Naked diggers live in narrow tunnels underground

To test this assumption, scientists from Ukraine and Israel decided to conduct a rather serious experiment. Its essence was that they took three groups of young, adult and elderly laboratory mice and placed them in conditions in which naked mole rats live. In the first part of the experiment, the animals were kept for several hours in a vessel with a closed lid. In the second part of the experiment, the mice lived for three months in a cage with 10% oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Is it possible to live without oxygen?

Being closed in a vessel without air, the mice began to inhale three times less oxygen and exhale less carbon dioxide. Also, in individuals of all ages, body temperature dropped. From all this, scientists concluded that the metabolism of animals slowed significantly.

In conditions with insufficient oxygen, rodents began to eat 50% less and lost almost 30% of their weight. But with all this they did not feel stress and behaved almost the same way as under normal conditions. The most surprising discovery for researchers was that mice living in the stuffy stuff heal faster. They checked this by making small cuts on their bodies – they dragged on faster for several days than usual.

Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world? 95

Scientists were able to change the metabolic rate of mice

In the end, scientists found that under the new conditions the metabolism of laboratory rats changed and became almost the same as in naked mole rats. At the same time, rodents found the same property to heal more quickly from wounds, so the researchers decided that the secret of longevity of diggers is hidden in their living conditions. Of course, while this is not the final verdict, because they still have to do a lot of research.

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Science & Technology

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a “ghost” particle that makes up dark matter

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a "ghost" particle that makes up dark matter 100
Photo: Daniel Molybdenum, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States have found that the mysterious high-energy radiation emitted from the vicinity of a group of neutron stars may indicate the existence of axions – not yet discovered particles within the framework of New Physics, the search for which has been going on since 1977. It is assumed that special types of axions form dark matter. This is reported in an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The research is summarized in a press release on Phys.org.

It is believed that axions can form in the core of neutron stars and transform into photons in the presence of a powerful magnetic field. To detect the electromagnetic radiation associated with axions, you need to find stars that do not emit radiation at different wavelengths that can mask the desired signal. 

These objects include the Magnificent Seven neutron stars that emit only X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. They are located at a distance of 200-500 parsecs from the Earth.

The researchers ruled out the scenario that the excess X-rays produced by the Magnificent Seven are actually emitted by other, more distant objects. These sources would be found in datasets from the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray space telescopes.

The extra X-rays likely originate from axions hitting an extremely strong electromagnetic field billions of times stronger than the magnetic fields that could be created on Earth, the scientists concluded. The axions themselves resemble neutrinos in their properties, since both have insignificant masses and rarely and weakly interact with matter.

The axion is currently viewed as the most promising candidate for dark matter particles, since another hypothetical candidate, the massive WIMP particle, has gone unnoticed in experiments aimed at detecting it. 

In addition, there may be a whole family of axion-like particles that form dark matter, as suggested by string theory. If axions are found, it will prove that there is a whole new area of ​​physics outside the Standard Model describing the properties of all known particles.

To find out, the next step will be to study white dwarfs, which are not expected to emit X-rays.

“If we see an abundance of X-rays there too, our arguments will be pretty compelling,” said lead author Benjamin Safdie.

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The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 101

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 102

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 103
Photo: 
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 104
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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