The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End

2020-10-29 George Musser

In a series of breakthrough papers, theoretical physicists have come tantalizingly close to resolving the black hole information paradox that has entranced and bedeviled them for nearly 50 years. Information, they now say with confidence, does escape a black hole. If you jump into one, you will not be gone for good. Particle by particle, the information needed to reconstitute your body will reemerge.

Strong humming for one hour daily to terminate chronic rhinosinusitis in four days: a case report and hypothesis for action by stimulation of endogenous nasal nitric oxide production

2006-01-10 George A Eby

Rhinosinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the nose and air pockets (sinuses) above, below and between the eyes which connect with the back of the nose through tiny openings (ostia). Rhinosinusitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi (molds) and possibly by allergies. Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an immune disorder caused by fungi. The immune response produced by eosinophils causes the fungi to be attacked, which leads to damage of the sinus membranes, resulting in full-blown rhinosinusitis symptoms. Gaseous nitric oxide (NO) is naturally released in the human respiratory tract. The major part of NO found in exhaled air originates in the nasal airways, although significant production of NO also takes place in the paranasal sinuses. Proper ventilation is essential for maintenance of sinus integrity, and blockage of the ostium is a central event in pathogenesis of sinusitis. Concentrations of NO in the healthy sinuses are high. Nasal NO is known to be increased 15- to 20-fold by humming compared with quiet exhalation. NO is known to be broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. This case report shows that a subject hummed strongly at a low pitch ( approximately 130 Hz) for 1h (18 hums per minute) at bedtime the first night, and hummed 60-120 times 4 times a day for the following 4 days as treatment for severe CRS. The humming technique was described as being one that maximally increased intranasal vibrations, but less than that required to produce dizziness. The morning after the first 1-h humming session, the subject awoke with a clear nose and found himself breathing easily through his nose for the first time in over 1 month. During the following 4 days, CRS symptoms slightly reoccurred, but with much less intensity each day. By humming 60-120 times four times per day (with a session at bedtime), CRS symptoms were essentially eliminated in 4 days. Coincidentally, the subject’s cardiac arrhythmias (PACs) were greatly lessened. It is hypothesized that strong, prolonged humming increased endogenous nasal NO production, thus eliminating CRS by antifungal means.

Behind the dead-water phenomenon

2020-07-06 CNRS

What makes ships mysteriously slow down or even stop as they travel, even though their engines are working properly?

…In 1904, the Swedish physicist and oceanographer Vagn Walfrid Ekman showed in a laboratory that waves formed under the surface at the interface between the and freshwater layers that form the upper portion of this area of the Arctic Ocean interact with the ship, generating drag.

This phenomenon, called dead water, is seen in all seas and oceans where waters of different densities (because of salinity or temperature) mix. It denotes two drag phenomena observed by scientists. The first, Nansen wave-making drag, causes a constant, abnormally low speed. The second, Ekman wave-making drag, is characterized by speed oscillations in the trapped boat. The cause of this was unknown.

The science of soap – here’s how it kills the coronavirus


Alcohol-based disinfectants are also effective, but soap is a highly efficient way of killing the virus when it’s on your skin

… Health authorities have been giving us two messages: once you have the virus there are no drugs that can kill it or help you get rid of it. But also, wash your hands to stop the virus spreading. This seems odd. You can’t, even for a million dollars, get a drug for the coronavirus – but your grandmother’s bar of soap kills the virus.

So why does soap work so well on the Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus and indeed most viruses? The short story: because the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.

Machine Learning Takes On Antibiotic Resistance

2020-03-09 Katherine Harmon Courage

In the February 20 issue of Cell, one team of scientists announced that they — and a powerful deep learning algorithm — had found a totally new antibiotic, one with an unconventional mechanism of action that allows it to fight infections that are resistant to multiple drugs. The compound was hiding in plain sight (as a possible diabetes treatment) because humans didn’t know what to look for. …

Collins, Barzilay and their team trained their network to look for any compound that would inhibit the growth of the bacterium Escherichia coli. They did so by presenting the system with a database of more than 2,300 chemical compounds that had known molecular structures and were classified as “hits” or “non-hits” on tests of their ability to inhibit the growth of E. coli. From that data, the neural net learned what atom arrangements and bond structures were common to the molecules that counted as hits. …

The researchers … also trained the algorithm to predict the toxicity of compounds and to weed out candidate molecules on that basis. …

They then turned the trained network loose on the Drug Repurposing Hub, a library of more than 6,000 compounds that are already being vetted for use in humans for a wide variety of conditions.