Octopuses Can Rewire Their 'Brains' By Editing Their Own RNA On the Fly

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: Octopuses have found an incredible way to protect the more delicate features of their nervous system against radically changing temperatures. When conditions fluctuate, they can rapidly recode key proteins in their nerve cells, ensuring critical neurological activities remain functional when temperatures drop dramatically. How do they do it? By deploying a rare superpower -- editing their RNA on the fly, an ability found in some species of octopuses, squids and cuttlefish. It's an unusual strategy, but it appears to be an effective one, and scientists believe that it may be widely adopted throughout the world of cephalopods. [...] Their subjects were California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides), whose entire genome was first sequenced in 2005, making it a useful animal for understanding genetic changes. The researchers acclimated these octopuses to warm water at 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit) or much chillier water at 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 Fahrenheit), then compared their genetic information against the database genome. They specifically looked at over 60,000 known editing sites, and what they found was astonishing. "Temperature-sensitive editing occurred at about one third of our sites -- over 20,000 individual places -- so this is not something that happens here or there; this is a global phenomenon," says physicist Eli Eisenberg of Tel-Aviv University, co-senior author of the paper. "But that being said, it does not happen equally: proteins that are edited tend to be neural proteins, and almost all sites that are temperature sensitive are more highly edited in the cold." So the editing seemed to be in response to acclimating to cold, rather than warm water, affecting neural proteins that, specifically, are sensitive to cold temperatures. And tests of structural proteins critical for the function of the octopus nervous system -- kinesin and synaptotagmin -- found that the changes wrought would have an impact on their function. It was possible that what the team observed was the result of being in a lab, so they caught wild California two-spot octopuses and Verrill's two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in Summer and Winter and checked their genomes, too. These octopuses had similar patterns of RNA editing that suggested they were optimizing their function for the current temperature conditions. The team also tested to see how quickly the changes take place. They tweaked the temperature of an octopus's tank from 14 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius or vice versa, tuning the temperature up or down by 0.5 degrees increments over the course of 20 hours. They tested the extent of RNA editing in each octopus just before starting the temperature change, just after, and four days later. It happens very quickly, the researchers found. "We had no real idea how quickly this can occur: whether it takes weeks or hours," explains [marine biologist Matthew Birk of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Saint Francis University]. "We could see significant changes in less than a day, and within four days, they were at the new steady-state levels that you find them in after a month." The research has been published in the journal Cell. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-06-09 23:45:02 preview's
Parker Solar Probe Flies Close Enough to the Sun to See the Source of the Fast Solar Wind

Where does the solar wind come from? That’s a question solar physicists have wanted an answer to for decades. Now, the Parker Solar Probe is showing them exactly where this stream of particles exits our star on a journey out through interplanetary space. Parker follows an orbit that takes it very close to the Sun. … Continue reading "Parker Solar Probe Flies Close Enough to the Sun to See the Source of the Fast Solar Wind" The post Parker Solar Probe Flies Close Enough to the Sun to See the Source of the Fast Solar Wind appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-06-09 23:30:02 preview's
Tesla Orders Parts For 375K Cybertrucks In 2024

schwit1 shares a report from Electrek: Tesla is planning to produce 375,000 Cybertrucks per year and have release candidates by late August, according to communications they sent to suppliers. Tesla's latest official comment on the timeline is a planned delivery event "around the end of Q3," which would mean around the end of September 2023. Recently, CEO Elon Musk also gave a Tesla Cybertruck production volume estimate at Tesla's annual shareholders meeting. In his comment, he first said about 250,000 units per year, but the CEO also added that he believes it could be between 250,000 and 500,000 units a year. Now, Electrek gets more details through communications that Tesla sent to suppliers for the Cybertruck program, which it calls "Project Everest," internally and with suppliers. Tesla has asked suppliers to plan to meet a base production volume of 375,000 Cybertrucks per year. For a base volume, it seems to be a bit more aggressive than what Musk communicated publicly at Tesla's annual shareholder's meeting, but Tesla has been frequently adjusting to target. Earlier this year, it was about 100,000 units lower. Also, the number is planned for the production lines running at 85% efficiency. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-06-09 22:15:03 preview's
The US Is Building Factories At a Wildly Fast Rate

Factory construction in the United States has experienced significant growth, with construction spending by manufacturers more than doubling over the past year. Insider reports: For April 2023, the annual rate reached nearly $190 billion compared with $90 billion in June 2022, with manufacturing accounting for around 13% of non-government construction. [...] Factories are being constructed everywhere from deserts to resort towns as the US tries to bring back manufacturing of goods commonly imported from lower-cost countries. Many battery and electric vehicle factories have popped up in the Rust Belt, while solar panel and renewable energy factories now span much of the South and Southeast. The US has added around 800,000 jobs in manufacturing employment over the last two years, employing around 13 million workers per the May Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report (PDF). However, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing skills gap -- caused by the labor market's struggle to find workers with highly technical and manual expertise -- could lead to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030. Manufacturing, though, has accelerated its move back to the US from other countries over the past year. According to Kearney's 2022 Reshoring Index, 96% of American companies have shifted production to the US or are evaluating reshoring operations -- a spike from 78% in the 2021 index. The sudden rise in factory construction corresponds with passage of the CHIPS and Science Act in July 2022, which provided $280 billion in funding to boost manufacturing of semiconductors, as well as the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. The IRA has sought to create new jobs in manufacturing, construction, and renewable energy, estimated to create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030. Construction spending in most areas of the US economy has fallen in contrast, including office, health care, and educational construction. Residential construction has also declined amid a big cooldown from the pandemic housing market boom. Census Bureau data reveals manufacturing construction spending has escalated from January 2020 until April 2023 in every region except New England and the Mid Atlantic. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-06-09 21:30:04 preview's
Google's Bard AI Can Now Write and Execute Code To Answer a Question

In a blog post on Wednesday, Google said Bard is getting better at logic and reasoning. "Google says that now when you ask Bard a 'computational' task like math or string manipulation, instead of showing the output of the language model, that language model will instead write a program, execute that program, and then show the output of that program to the user as an answer," reports Ars Technica. From the report: Google's blog post provides the example input of "Reverse the word 'Lollipop' for me." ChatGPT flubs this question and provides the incorrect answer "pillopoL," because language models see the world in chunks of words, or "tokens," and they just aren't good at this. It gets the output correct as "popilloL," but more interesting is that it also includes the python code it wrote to answer the question. That's neat for programming-minded people to see under the hood, but wow, is that probably the scariest output ever for regular people. It's also not particularly relevant. Imagine if Gmail showed you a block of code when you just asked it to fetch email. It's weird. Just do the job you were asked to do, Bard. Google likens an AI model writing a program to humans doing long division in that it's a different mode of thinking [...]. Google says this "writing code on the fly" method will also be used for questions like: "What are the prime factors of 15683615?" and "Calculate the growth rate of my savings." The company says, "So far, we've seen this method improve the accuracy of Bard's responses to computation-based word and math problems in our internal challenge datasets by approximately 30%." As usual, Google warns Bard "might not get it right" due to interpreting your question wrong or just, like all of us, writing code that doesn't work the first time. Bard is coding up answers on the fly right now if you want to give it a shot at Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-06-09 21:00:02 preview's
China Is Planning To Restrict and Scrutinise the Use of Wireless Filesharing Services

Longtime Slashdot reader mspohr shares a report from The Guardian: China is planning to restrict and scrutinize the use of wireless filesharing services between mobile devices, such as airdrop and Bluetooth, after they were used by protesters to evade censorship and spread protest messages. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top internet regulator, has released draft regulations on "close-range mesh network services" and launched a month-long public consultation on Tuesday. Under the proposed rules, service providers would have to prevent the dissemination of harmful and illegal information, save relevant records and report their discovery to regulators. Service providers would also have to provide data and technical assistance to the relevant authorities, including internet regulators and the police, when they conduct inspections. Users must also register with their real names. In addition, features and technologies that have the capability to mobilize public opinion must undergo a security assessment before they could be introduced. Apple, in particular, came under the spotlight after some Chinese protesters used airdrop in 2022 to bypass surveillance and circulate messages critical of the regime by sending them to strangers on public transport. The tool was a relatively untraceable method for sharing files in China, where most social media and messaging platforms are tightly monitored. Shortly later, Apple limited the use of airdrop on iPhones in China, allowing Chinese users to receive files from non-contacts for only ten minutes at a time. The proposed rules will take control of similar functions up a notch, requiring the receiving of files and preview of thumbnails to be disabled by default. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-06-09 20:45:03 preview's
Here’s a rough estimate of how many people recent SCOTUS rulings might kill

In addition to deaths, the decisions will lead to significant morbidity.
2023-06-09 19:45:03 preview's
Has JWST Finally Found the First Stars in the Univese?

New observations from JWST hint at pockets of new gas in the halo of more evolved galaxies, where these first-generation stars could still form. The post Has JWST Finally Found the First Stars in the Univese? appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-06-09 19:30:07 preview's
Acer said it halted business in Russia but kept selling monitors & reportedly PCs

Reuters says Acer used Swiss subsidiary to send Russia "at least" 744 shipments.
2023-06-09 19:15:03 preview's
If We Can Master Artificial Photosynthesis, We Can Thrive in Space

In a recent study, a team led by the University of Warwick propose a new type of life support system that relies on artificial photosynthesis. The post If We Can Master Artificial Photosynthesis, We Can Thrive in Space appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-06-09 18:15:02