Unravelling the mystery of parrot longevity: Relatively large brain size

Parrots are famous for their intelligence among birds. Among them, species such as sunflower cockatoos and macaws are quite long-lived, and the lifespan in captivity can reach 80 years. Why do they live so long? A new study proves why these parrots live so long: their relatively large brain size.

Scarlet macaw (scarlet macaw, scientific name: Ara macao) and sunflower cockatoo (Sulphur-crested cockatoo) are the longest-lived species among parrots, with an average of 30 years. While large birds such as eagles can live this long, parrots are relatively small and live almost as long as primates.

Why do they live so long? A team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany recently demonstrated for the first time that parrot brain size is positively associated with longer lifespan, or that improved cognitive abilities may help parrots cope with environmental threats and thus live longer.

The researchers pointed out that more active parrots must be studied in order to obtain better data. After compiling data from more than 130,000 parrots in more than 1,000 zoos, the team found for the first time the average lifespan of 217 parrot species. The average lifespan of medium-sized fig parrots is about 2 Years, the average lifespan of the Scarlet Macaw is 30 years, and the average lifespan of the Sunflower Cockatoo is about 25 years.

Next, the team wanted to test the two hypotheses that “a relatively large brain can prolong lifespan” and “a relatively large brain takes longer to grow, so it also requires a longer lifespan”, so they collected the relative size, average size and average size of the parrot brains of various species. Data such as weight and development were computerized, and the results confirmed that a relatively large brain size could prolong parrot life.

Studies have shown that parrots with relatively large brains have higher cognitive abilities, are more problem-solving in the wild, and therefore live longer. In the future, the team intends to see if social and cultural learning in parrots also contributes to longer lifespan.

The new paper is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Feeling bored and hating waiting for emotions, which further affects the onset of symptoms in hyperactive children

Children with ADHD suffer from boredom and waiting, but few studies have looked at how these emotions affect cognition in children with ADHD. The research team of Assistant Professor Xu Jiafen from the Department of Vocational Management and the Institute of Behavioral Sciences of Chang Gung University found that boredom and dislike of waiting have a moderate to high positive correlation with the severity of symptoms. Feeling bored can affect individuals’ aversion to waiting, which in turn affects attention deficit and hyperactivity. Dyskinetic problem behavior occurs.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), commonly known as ADHD, is one of the common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood, characterized by difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity (excessive activity), and doing things without regard to consequences ( impulsive behavior), etc., these symptoms may carry over to adolescents or adults.

Children with ADHD have a harder time being bored and waiting, but few studies have looked at how the feeling of boredom affects cognition, mood, and behavior in children with ADHD. With the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Professor Xu Jiafen’s team studied the relationship between boredom, aversion to waiting and inattentiveness in ADHD children, and found that the tendency to boredom, aversion to waiting were moderately to highly positively correlated with the severity of ADHD symptoms.

In other words, feeling bored also increases the individual’s aversion to waiting, which in turn affects ADHD problem behaviors. The study also found that children with ADHD have a higher tendency to be bored than children with normal development. For example, they are more likely to feel bored after completing homework that requires attention for a period of time. When they feel bored, they will lead to poorer attention performance. Homework is boring.

The research team said that boredom involves the brain’s Default mode network (DMN), which is particularly active during daze and daydreaming, and cannot be effectively reduced when ADHD children are waiting and doing attentional tasks. The neural activity of this network, it is speculated that its problem behavior may be involved.

Professor Xu Jiafen reminded that the problem behavior of ADHD children cannot be improved by beating and scolding, and they must be patient and give children clear rules. When ADHD children are bored, they need to help them find people and things that they are interested in and are willing to take the initiative to devote themselves to. This can greatly reduce the child’s feeling of boredom and improve attention performance.

The big resignation is not a short-lived phenomenon of the epidemic, Harvard: The new reality employers will face

Last year, 47 million people in the United States voluntarily resigned and set a record. Many people called it a “big resignation”. They believed that this was a unique sequela after the epidemic. However, according to an analysis by Harvard Business Review, the big resignation did not appear in the air, but existed before the epidemic. The trend, the force behind Americans leaving their jobs, will survive the pandemic.

There is now a shortage of labor everywhere in the United States, and some business establishments have been forced to reduce operating hours. However, the analysis believes that if it is extended to more than ten years, the resignation now is not a short-term turbulence caused by the epidemic. The resignation rate has been rising in the past few years. In the U.S., with stimulus checks and uncertainty waning, people are starting to quit their jobs, and simply put, many would probably quit in 2020 if there wasn’t a pandemic.

The article analyzes five factors behind the big resignation: retirement, relocation, reconsideration, reshuffle, and reluctance. The epidemic is just a combination of the five to produce all the changes in the labor market. One of the important factors is the early retirement of older workers, who may have wanted to retire in the first place, just as the stock market surged and residential property values ​​rose, giving them more confidence to act. The pattern of older workers leaving is very different from the last financial crisis. During the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the labor force participation rate over the age of 55 increased by 1%, and fell by 1.9% during the current outbreak.

As for the relocation, there were not as many as expected. The report pointed out that while the article on high-skilled knowledge workers abandoning expensive areas for scenic spots is appealing, the fact that relocation is not the reason for the big resignation. Overall liquidity in 2021 is the lowest in more than 70 years of records. Since the 1980s, relocation rates have been steadily declining, and the pandemic has not reversed the trend.

The third point is to rethink the meaning of work. Deaths and serious illness from the pandemic have made people reconsider their priorities in life, with women more affected than men, and younger people more severely than older adults. Especially in white-collar industries such as consulting and finance, grassroots personnel experience severe job burnout. Due to heavy business during the epidemic, grassroots personnel have not received training or growth rewards, or benefited from customer interaction, which has changed young people’s tolerance for such work.

Instead of quitting the workforce, many reshuffle. In industries with the highest turnover rates, employers responded by sharply raising wages to attract workers, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. For example, in 2021, McDonald’s will increase its hourly wages by 10%, and also improve benefits such as emergency childcare, paid leave and tuition reimbursement. As a result, the number of employees will be successfully expanded in 2021, and the staffing at the end of the year will be higher than that at the beginning of the year. Walmart also announced that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for employees over five years, hoping to attract employees and increase employee retention rates. The reluctance of many employees to return to the office after the epidemic is also one of the reasons for the mass resignation.

The Quartz analysis pointed out that the fact that so many people have resigned is the result of a systematic failure to pay attention to workers in the United States. The article accuses the United States of long-term emphasis on business-friendly policies and shareholder-centricity, becoming the most demanding country for labor in advanced economies, lacking paid leave, not supporting childcare, and lacking support during the epidemic, not to mention the federal minimum wage for more than ten years. Did not go up. Harvard Review believes that resigning now is just a continuation of the pre-pandemic trend, a reality that American employers may have to contend with in the next few years.

A new alternative to palm oil? Microalgae edible oil may reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Palm oil has a low price and high stability. In addition to being one of the most common edible oils at present, it can even be found in daily necessities such as shampoo, detergent and cosmetics. Alternatives to fat are available, and oils made from algae may be able to replace them.

At present, the world’s largest producer of palm oil is Indonesia, followed by Malaysia. Deforestation is just for the economic benefits of palm oil, causing environmental damage and impacting biodiversity. Even if it contributes to the economy, it is putting the cart before the horse; on the other hand Palm oil is also 52% saturated fat, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease or other health problems.

To that end, a scientific team from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and the University of Malaya in Malaysia set out to study an oil-producing microalgae called Chromochloris zofingiensis.

Compared with palm oil, microalgae oil contains more polyunsaturated fatty acids and less saturated fatty acids, which helps reduce “bad” cholesterol in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

The process is not difficult. The team first added pyruvate to the microalgae solution, and then placed it under a laboratory UV lamp to stimulate photosynthesis. After 14 days, the algae were removed, cleaned and dried, and then methanol was used to break the algal protein and photosynthesis. The role of the algae protein in the production of oil, and ultimately the production of a new generation of edible oil.

Fortunately, scientists have also discovered that pyruvic acid can also be produced by fermenting organic agricultural wastes such as soybean residue and fruit peels. In large-scale production facilities, ultraviolet rays can also be used to replace sunlight, and algae can also absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide during the growth process and convert it into biomass.

The team claims that the quality of the new algal oil is comparable to that of palm oil, but the current 160 grams of microalgae oil can only satisfy a 100-gram chocolate bar.

William Chen, Chair Professor of Food Science and Technology at NTU, said the team hopes to find potential uses of waste through the concept of circular economy, and finally return the waste back to the food chain. Today we rely on nature’s key process of “fermentation” to convert organic matter into a nutrient-rich solution that can be used to cultivate algae, which not only helps reduce palm oil dependence, but also reduces carbon.

Shanghai Silicon Valley was blocked due to the epidemic, and China’s semiconductor manufacturing and packaging chain is not good?

Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Pudong has always been known as the “Shanghai Silicon Valley”, but now it is feared that the city will be closed in batches to fight the epidemic without warning on the 27th, which will expose China’s semiconductor supply chain to more disruption risks. Major industrial cities such as Xi’an, Suzhou and Shenzhen have also faced shocks due to city closures.

The South China Morning Post reported on the 27th that after three rounds of large-scale screening of the blocked communities in the past week, the authorities in Zhangjiang Town decided to extend the closure on the 25th. Although the closure measures have not extended to the nearby high-tech park, the blocked residential area is the main place where the employees of the park live.

According to reports, several companies in Zhangjiang Park have suspended some operations, and employees who can work remotely are trying to work from home. Shanghai is battling the worst wave of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Shanghai resident Zhang Xiaonan revealed that the company where her father worked (located in Zhangjiang Park) was closed on the 24th, and all employees were not allowed to enter the office building and went home to wait for notification.

However, several important factories continue to operate, including Hua Hong Semiconductor and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

The report pointed out that the market is worried that if the Shanghai authorities finally decide to require the city’s technology heartland, the Zhangjiang Park, to be completely closed, it may have a serious impact on China’s semiconductor manufacturing and packaging value chain. This will make Shenzhen and Dongguan, the two major southern science and technology towns, face the dilemma of logistics delays. Shenzhen and Dongguan are also fighting against the Omicron variant outbreak.

Thousands evacuated in Philippines as Taal volcano briefly erupts

The Taal volcano on the island of Sonlu in the Philippines erupted on the morning of the 26th, sending out 1,500 meters of steam and ash that forced thousands of people to evacuate.

Located about 50 kilometers from Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Sonlu Island is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has recorded 33 volcanic eruptions since 1572. The eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,000 people, and the eruption in January 2020 also caused Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and ash drifted up into Manila, temporarily closing the airport.

Taal volcano is located in the center of Taal Lake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it erupted “briefly” at 7:22 a.m. After the magma came into contact with the volcanic lake, it triggered a steam explosion and earthquake.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology also issued a three-level alert, indicating that magma has invaded the main crater and may cause the next eruption. More than 12,000 people in five villages in Hukou have been ordered to evacuate, the regional civil protection agency said, with attention to a “volcanic tsunami” of volcanic gas, ash and debris.

Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, pointed out that this was a strong eruption, but now the volcano has calmed down, but it is not clear whether there will be a next eruption. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology may lower the alert level if there is no rise or a downward trend after two weeks of close monitoring.

Taiwan sends swine fever-like virus to outer space for the first time, paving the way for the development of vaccine drugs

“Five, four, three, two, one, launch!” The space station gave an order. The SpaceX rocket spewed a lot of fuel, raised billowing smoke and dust, and lifted off with swine fever-like virus particles. This is the first time Taiwan has launched a Virus particles are sent to outer space, and the virus has to go on a one-month “crystal growth journey” in space before returning to Earth.

It is difficult for the public to imagine that this batch of swine fever-like viruses first crossed the sea to Japan, and then sent to the United States for launch, a journey of tens of thousands of kilometers. It took more than 8 months before and after the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center to complete. It took a lot of effort to send it to outer space, Chen Junrong, deputy director of the National Radiation Center explained, in order to “see clearly” the structure of the virus.

Chen Junrong said that before developing vaccines or drugs, the first task is to understand the virus first. Mastering the structure of the virus has always been the focus of scientists, but the earth has gravity, temperature, humidity and other factors that affect the formation of virus crystals, which will affect research to some extent. In space, there is no interference factor, which helps the virus to form large perfect crystals, which is beneficial to understand the fine structure of the virus.

In fact, biotechnology companies in the United States, Japan and other countries have already sent proteins to outer space for the purpose of developing targeted vaccines or drugs. Chen Junrong studied in the United States when he was young, and he also participated in similar space experiments. The idea of ​​space is not unfamiliar at all. After returning to Taiwan, there was no chance until Zhang Huaiqian, the founder of Sunwing Advanced Technology, came to the door and offered to cooperate, and started the project.

As the saying goes, “Everything is difficult at the beginning”, which is also reflected in the first virus sailing mission. The National Radiation Center can purify the swine fever virus protein and assemble it into virus-like particles, which do not contain genetic material, making it non-infectious, but space crystal growth. Handling skills and methods, the Taiwanese team has no experience and no relevant equipment.

Yangyi, as the Taiwan general agent of Japan Space BD Co., Ltd., Chen Junrong’s team asked Japan to send equipment to simulate the test in the Taiwan laboratory.

However, the crystal growth effect in the first test was not good, and the device was used up. Chen Junrong had to ask Space BD to send another batch of equipment for the second test. After more than a month, he finally found suitable parameters. Chen Junrong admitted that the environment is different, and the experimental conditions need to be re-explored.

In the end, the National Radiation Center used Space BD equipment and methods to send out 5 tubes of viral proteins and 5 tubes of specific liquids, a total of 10 test tubes were sent to the Space BD headquarters in Japan, and were sent to the United States by Japanese businessmen. The final assembly was placed in a special device. Once sent to the International Space Station in outer space, the virus-like particles and the uniquely formulated chemical solution slowly fuse in a gravity-free environment to further grow crystals.

However, the virus protein has to travel far to Japan, which is another test. Chen Junrong specially negotiated with a courier company that can guarantee the whole process of low temperature. The purpose is to ensure that the samples are fresh and pass through customs smoothly and directly to Japan. The package also has a tracking code attached, so that you can always grasp it. Latest News. Even the delivery date is deduced from the sand table.

Chen Junrong said that if it was sent on Tuesday, it might arrive in Japan on the weekend, and the Japanese business might not receive the sample package. If it was processed two days later, no one could tell what would happen, so he insisted that the courier company would get the package on Monday. goods. “During the transportation of the samples, the treatment specifications are better than people’s,” he said with a smile.

This batch of swine fever-like virus particles was successfully sent to space in December last year. After a month of “crystal growth journey”, they returned to Earth. The crystal samples were processed by Japan’s Space BD and then rapidly frozen at liquid nitrogen temperature before being sent to China. spoke center. In the follow-up, the National Radiation Center will use high-intensity X-rays to inspect the crystal quality and identify the structure, and plan to cooperate with the school on the research of swine fever virus particles, and ultimately hope to develop vaccines or drugs.

After having this experience, Chen Junrong said that the team also plans to send another batch of different virus-like particles into space in the third quarter of this year, and conduct space crystal growth experiments for more than 4 months, hoping to increase the number of crystals by extending the experimental time. Growth opportunities and effects.

White pollution is everywhere, microplastics found in human blood for the first time

“Our blood, the river of life, has plastic in it.” Dutch scientists recently demonstrated the seriousness of plastic pollution. Using new analytical tools, the team proved that microplastics can also enter human tissues.

Whether it’s the wind, the ocean, or even ultraviolet light, plastic bags and bottlings can be turned into smaller pieces, eventually becoming invisible microplastics, making it difficult for scientists to track the movements of plastics flowing into nature.

These microplastics may also be absorbed by organisms. It is currently known that microplastics can cause adverse effects on many marine organisms, such as causing aneurysms in fish and affecting the cognition of hermit crabs. , we can find that there are actually microplastic particles in human tissues and feces. In the future, we will be able to further investigate the impact of plastics on the human body based on this research.

A team of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Dutch research center Deltares, UMC Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam Medical Center teamed up to develop a newly developed analytical tool that can identify nanoplastic particles in human blood. The study collected samples from 22 healthy donors to confirm whether they contained 5 different plastic polymers.

The study noted that three-quarters of the subjects were found to have plastic particles in their blood, the first evidence of plastic entering human blood, with an average of 1.6 micrograms of microplastics per milliliter of blood, or about one teaspoon per 1,000 liters of water. plastic.

Heather Leslie of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam said the team has now shown that we find plastic in the blood, the river of life in humans. Among them, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene (PE), and styrene are the most common plastics. The researchers also described in the paper how plastics enter the bloodstream, thinking that it may enter the body through mucosal contact, and pointed out that Particles between 1 nanometer and 20 microns can be inhaled through airborne transmission.

So what are the implications for human health? The research points out that the plastic particles can be toxic to cells and change their shape, and mouse studies also point to the possibility of infiltrating the cerebrovascular barrier and causing high cholesterol and heart disease, but this is still an ongoing research and hopefully the next step How plastic moves from the blood to other tissues or organs.

60% of coal will be withdrawn from the market within 8 years, will pumped hydro storage be the ultimate energy storage solution in Australia?

As Australia’s energy system gradually shifts from fossil fuels to renewable energy, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes that the construction of pumped hydropower storage should be expanded, which can effectively stabilize power supply and reduce fluctuations in the energy market. “The Ultimate Long Term Energy Storage Solution”.

The Australian Energy Market Dispatch Center (AEMO) predicts that if Australia’s energy is to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, at least 45GW/620GWh of energy storage is required, and Turnboll believes that the pumped storage plan is the ideal solution, including the $4.6 billion 4.1GW Snowy 2.0 Pumped Storage Program.

Turnball believes that the energy transition requires not only a lot of green electricity to replace coal, but also more power to meet the needs of transportation, fossil fuel-dependent heating, and green hydrogen; on the other hand, it also requires more energy storage systems, including An energy storage system that can store more than 8 hours of electricity and is more expensive.

After all, in the future, energy storage systems will mainly be used to fill the vacancies of the retirement of old coal-fired units. AEMO modelling shows that of the coal-fired units with a total capacity of 23GW in Australia, about 14GW will be withdrawn from the market in 2030.

According to the 2021 Draft Integrated System Plan (ISP), AEMO emphasized that 60% of the Australian system will withdraw from the Australian market in the next eight years. It’s just that when the energy market is gradually replaced by intermittent renewable energy, it is bound to invest heavily in energy storage systems, dispatchable power generation must reach 45GW/620 GWh, and put into utility-scale batteries, hydropower and other forms of energy storage.

Turnball said that Australia needs more energy storage systems, and AEMO suggested that for grid security and stability, at least another 45GW of energy storage must be added. These energy storage systems must also be distributed near the transmission system, and repeatable use of mode. He also added that although pumped hydro is not as easy to replicate as battery storage systems, about 95% of the world’s energy storage comes from pumped hydro.

The Snowy 2.0 pumped-storage project currently underway in Australia, which involves connecting the Tantangara and Talbingo dams through a 27-kilometre tunnel, will provide 2GW of dispatch capacity and 350GWh of large-scale energy storage, enough for the equivalent of 500,000 electricity during peak demand periods. households provide electricity for more than a week. Snowy 2.0 is the ultimate long-term storage asset, capable of generating 2,000 megawatts of electricity in seven and a half days without re-pumping water, and is currently expected to generate its first electricity in 2025, said Turnball.

Shionoyoshi New Crown Oral Drug Delivery Application! Japanese government to order 1 million servings

Japan’s Shionogi Pharmaceuticals develops oral medicines for the new coronary pneumonia (COVID-19), and has submitted an application to the Japanese government for a manufacturing and sales license in February, and has signed a basic agreement with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 1 million people to provide oral medicine for the new crown for the treatment of mild patients.

Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shigeruyuki Goto said that the government has reached a consensus with Shionogi Pharmaceuticals and is waiting for the approval of the regulatory authorities. It is expected to purchase 1 million oral medicines. In the future, it will provide more treatment options for those diagnosed with mild symptoms, and in the future. After the delivery of 1 million doses of the drug, there is also a consensus that a certain amount will be continued to be purchased.

Shionogi Pharmaceutical has submitted an application to the Japanese government for a manufacturing and sales license on February 25, and is currently under review. If approved, it will become the first Japanese-made oral drug for the new crown, and it will be the first drug developed by Pfizer and Merck. Japan is the third antiviral drug approved for COVID-19.

Shionogi Pharma has global ambitions for new crown oral drugs, and with the support of the U.S. government, it is expected to start a Phase III clinical trial of new crown oral drugs worldwide, and it is expected to start a production line in April. , the target annual output provides more than 10 million servings.