The one year anniversary episode of the NPR Short Wave podcast adds even more hilarity than usual when telling us about the microscopic mites that live on everyone's face, where they stay during the day and what they get up to at night!
The travelling salesman problem is a famous network optimisation problem that hasn't been improved upon in forty-four years, until now! Researchers Nathan Klein, Anna Karlin and Shayan Ovies Gharan at the University of Washington have created a new algorithm that improves on the general traveling salesman problem, by 0.2 billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent!
The Center For Global Development have published research on predicting the rollout timelines of a COVID-19 vaccine. The predictions show a 50% chance of a vaccine by April 2021, rising to 100% by September 2023. The paper also estimates that a total of just under 24 billion doses will be needed globally, distributed between health workers (115m), 65+ people(1.6bn), at risk people (4.2bn), and the rest of the population (18bn).
Staff and students of the Physics department in Imperial College London have converted a series of physics experiment equipment into a portable lab in a box which can be sent to any student around the world.
The Human Genome Nomenclature Committee has changed the names of humane genes and proteins because the symbols were being automatically converted to dates in Microsoft Excel. Symbols such as SEPT1 and MARCH1 have been changed to SEPTIN1 and MARCHF1. The tyranny of Excel's rule continues unabated :-p
I recently discovered the Artificial Intelligence with Lex Fridman podcast via Find That Pod. It's like the Tim Ferris podcast but very heavy on the science detail. Lex interviews a range of the world's leading scientists, theorists and technologists and digs deep into their topics. I enjoyed his interview with Stephen Wolfram. Most of the podcast episodes leave me with questions and the want to learn more, which is great!
Researchers MIT's Lincoln Laboratory have identified a way to recognise COVID-19 in asymptomatic people by analysing their speech patterns. The theory that the constriction of muscles caused by a COVID-19 infection could affect speech in otherwise asymptomatic people was put to the test by analysing speech from video interviews of asymptomatic celebrities before and after their postive diagnosis.
Physicists have discovered a scenario whereby they can detect an imminent quantum jump in state of a qubit. In the experiment, perfectly timed pulses of radiation can reverse the quantum jump when it is detected, keeping the quibit in its ground state.