Germany Makes Measles Vaccinations Compulsory For Children

An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Germany's parliament has voted to make measles vaccinations compulsory for children, with parents who fail to immunize their children facing fines of €2,500 ($2,750). The Measles Protection Act, which the Bundestag approved on Thursday, requires all parents to provide evidence that their child has received two measles vaccinations before they are enrolled in school or kindergarten. Medical staff, daycare workers, teachers and workers at community facilities must also be vaccinated under the act, which is due to come into effect in March 2020, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health told CNN. There has been a resurgence of measles -- a highly infectious viral illness that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes -- across the globe... Almost 350,000 measles cases were reported globally in 2018, according to the United Nations children's agency UNICEF -- more than doubling from 2017. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-18 01:45:03 preview's
Declaring State of Emergency, Samoa Makes Measles Vaccinations Compulsory

"Samoa was finalising plans for a compulsory measles vaccination programme Monday, after declaring a state of emergency as a deadly epidemic sweeps the Pacific nation," reports the International Business Times: At least six fatalities, including five children, have been linked to the outbreak of the virus, which has also hit other island states such as Tonga and Fiji. Samoa is the worst affected with more than 700 cases reported from across all areas of the country, prompting the government on Friday to invoke emergency powers. Declaring a state of emergency, the government said plans for compulsory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisations would be published on Monday. "MMR vaccinations for members of the public who have not yet received a vaccination injection is now a mandatory legal requirement for all of Samoa," it said... Samoa has closed all schools, kindergartens and the country's only university in a bid to halt the virus' spread... Neighbouring Tonga last week announced government primary schools and kindergartens would be closed until later this month as the number of measles cases in the kingdom approaches 200. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-17 23:45:05 preview's
The Next Graphene? Shiny and Magnetic, a New Form of Pure Carbon Dazzles

sciencehabit quotes Science magazine: A "happy accident" has yielded a new, stable form of pure carbon made from cheap feedstocks, researchers say. Like diamond and graphene, two other guises of carbon, the material seems to have extraordinary physical properties. It is harder than stainless steel, about as conductive, and as reflective as a polished aluminum mirror. Perhaps most surprising, the substance appears to be ferromagnetic, behaving like a permanent magnet at temperatures up to 125 degrees C -- a first for carbon. The discovery, announced by physicist Joel Therrien of the University of Massachusetts in Lowell on 4 November here at the International Symposium on Clusters and Nanomaterials, could lead to lightweight coatings, medical products, and novel electronic devices.... The magnetism adds to a suite of properties never before seen together in a form of pure carbon. They include tremendous hardness that presumably results from the bonds joining adjacent layers: "We've tried scratching it with steel wool, and it comes off clean," Therrien says. "The only thing we can say verifiably scratches it is a diamond scribe." Though the group has yet to measure the tensile strength of the material, the fact that vanishingly thin flakes hold together at millimeter size suggest it may be as strong as some metals, he says. Then there is the mirrorlike appearance, seen in photos Therrien showed at the meeting. The team's measurements indicate that the film, even when just 50 nanometers thick, reflects more than 90% of incoming light at wavelengths ranging from the far-ultraviolet to the midinfrared. That attribute could make it a useful reflective coating, more durable than the standard aluminum, for mirrors in cameras and telescopes. Its electrical conductivity turned out to be just shy of that of stainless steel. But it can also display other electronic properties. Annealing the material by slowly heating it to 1000 degrees C dims its shine and turns it into a semiconductor with a band gap -- the energy required to liberate an electron -- similar to that of amorphous silicon, which can turn light into electricity. That makes it a candidate material for photovoltaic cells, Therrien suggests. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-17 19:00:03 preview's
This Company Is Using Mushrooms To Reduce Plastic Waste

The New York-based biotech startup Ecovative wants to replace plastic with mycelium, the below-ground root-like structure of a mushroom, writes CNN Business. pgmrdlm shared their report: The company says it has developed a way to grow mycelium into specific shapes and sizes. The method, according to Ecovative, involves taking organic plant waste and inoculating it with mycelium. After the mycelium grows through and around the agricultural materials, it binds them together, providing a natural alternative to packaging materials made out styrofoam. It's a process that takes about a week with minimal water and electricity consumed to make the parts. At the end of the mycelium substance's useful life, you can break it up and you can put it in your own garden. "So it's a nutrient, not a pollutant," said Ecovative's CEO and co-founder Eben Bayer . The company also believes mycelium could play a major role in construction, as mycelium building materials are both insulative and structural and can be used in the same ways as conventional building material, Bayer said. In fact, packaging materials may be just the start. The startup has its eyes on another audacious goal: building organs. "My dream is to one day grow a lung and seed it with lung cells and use the mycelium to create the capillary network and use the human cells to create the actual lung," said Bayer. The company's vision "has helped Ecovative attract millions from investors like 3M Company, the conglomerate behind Post-it notes and Scotch tape, and even a $9.1 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense," reports CNN, adding that CEO Bayer believes the use of mycelium "really has boundless possibilities." Ecovative is now even developing plant-based meats, including Mycelium bacon. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-17 18:00:04 preview's
Researcher Finally Explains Why Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has 'Tiger Stripes'

In 2005, the Cassini space probe orbited Saturn's frozen moon Enceladus to photograph "enormous jets of water ice and vapor emanating from four parallel slashes near its south pole," reports Science. "Since then, researchers have detected organic molecules and hydrogen in the jets -- potential food for microbes -- making Enceladus one of the top destinations in the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System." But a new paper posted this week on the preprint server arXiv claims to finally understand the mystery of that moon's "tiger stripes": The stripes...are 130 kilometers long and are spaced roughly 35 kilometers apart -- rather large features on a moon only 500 kilometers in diameter. Nobody quite understood their origin, or why they were only seen at one pole... As it orbits around Saturn, Enceladus experiences gravitational tidal forces that squeeze and heat it. Cassini data had already shown that a liquid water ocean sits underneath the outer ice shell, which is thinnest at the north and south poles. According to the new study, led by Douglas Hemingway of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., as the moon cooled over time and some of the ocean water refroze, the new ice generated strain that built up in the surface until it broke. "It's like your pipes freezing on a cold day," says planetary scientist Francis Nimmo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the study... That first fissure, extending down to the ocean, allowed a geyser to spray snow on its two flanks. The weight of this extra material produced more strains. In their study, the researchers calculate that these forces should have cracked additional grooves on either side, roughly 35 kilometers from the original one... The moon's low gravity means that fractures can bust all the way through its outer shell and persist. On a more massive moon, the researchers say in their study, the weight of heavier ice would tend to squeeze cracks shut. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-17 11:45:03 preview's
California’s methane super-emitters

In the Golden State, landfills are the worst, then dairies and the oil/gas sector.
2019-11-17 10:15:04