Day: May 28, 2014

Is this the end of uncontrollable itching?

 

scratch'n the itch

New antibody blocks pain and itchiness: ‘Scientists may have developed an antibody that dulls chronic pain and blocks the itch pathway.Image: Promotive/ShutterstockIf it’s proven successful, the antibody could replace side-effect laden pain medications such as opioids.Developed by researchers at Duke University, the highly specialised antibody inhibits the function of a sodium channel called Nav1.7, which is found on neurons and is known to be involved in generation pain and itchiness.’ (Science Alert).

NASA has spotted a HUGE explosion in our neighbouring galaxy

The most distant Gamma-ray burst (Artist's imp...

‘…[A]stronomers suspect it could have been one of the most violent events in the Universe – a gamma ray-burst that, in just a few seconds, could have released as much energy as our Sun in its entire lifetime.If confirmed, this will be the closest gamma-ray burst we’ve ever detected, and will help scientists find out more about these mysterious pulses of energy.Gamma-ray pulses are so powerful, that if one occurred within our galaxy, they could potentially trigger mass extinctions on Earth, explains Dr Alan Duffy, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.’ (Science Alert).

Addendum (thanks to abby): Possibly not.

“We have re-analysed the prompt XRT data on Swift trigger 600114 (GCN Circ.
16332), taking advantage of the event data.

The initial count rate given in GCN Circ. 16332 was based on raw data from
the full field of view, without X-ray event detection, and therefore may
have been affected by other sources in M31, as well as background hot
pixels. Analysis of the event data (not fully available at the time of the
initial circular) shows the count rate of the X-ray source identified in
GCN Circ. 16332 to have been 0.065 +/- 0.012 count s^-1, consistent with
the previous observations of this source [see the 1SXPS catalogue (Evans
et al. 2014): http://www.swift.ac.uk/1SXPS/1SXPS%20J004143.1%2B413420.

We therefore do not believe this source to be in outburst. Instead, it was
a serendipitous constant source in the field of view of a BAT subthreshold
trigger.”

Why Tomorrow’s Conservatives Will Reject The Death Penalty

US death penalty methods

US death penalty methods

‘Writing in the Boston Globe, Leon Neyfakh profiles activists across the country who have come to the conclusion that execution by the state is an affront to the core principles that conservatives claim to espouse.’ (io9).

Boycott of luxury hotels owned by Brunei sultan grows

Vogue Magazine is the latest high-profile name to join a boycott luxury hotels owned by the Dorchester Collection. Why? Dorchester properties include The Beverly Hills Hotel, Londons Dorchester, and Le Meurice in Paris, and they’re now owned by the investment agency of the Sultan of Brunei.The Sultan plans to implement Sharia law in Brunei, under which being gay is punishable with death by stoning. Businesses, fashion designers, and celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres and Richard Branson are among the bold-faced names publicly shaming the hotel group.’ (Boing Boing).