1. In the UK, dogs are trained to sniff out COVID-19
Having faced a lack of tests for coronavirus, many countries gave up because of helplessness. Britain, in turn, took specially trained dogs in its team to deal with the crisis.
The potential use of dogs in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is being studied by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Durham University, and the Medical Detection Dogs organization.
In an experimental project, scientists want to establish whether dogs can reliably detect COVID-19 in the same way that they can recognize other diseases. It was previously known that trained dogs already know how to detect malaria, Parkinson's disease, and some types of cancer in people.
Dogs sniffing out COVID-19 will be trained to sniff out samples in the training room and indicate which one contains traces of the disease or infection. They are also able to detect minor changes in skin temperature.
James Logan, the Head of the Department of Disease Control at LSHTM, is not ready to talk about the possibility of detecting the virus by smell because it is currently unknown whether COVID-19 has a specific smell. Other respiratory diseases, on the other hand, change the scent of our bodies, and dogs can smell it.
Specialists will launch an experiment that will last for up to two months. In the course of the study, scientists want to teach dogs to distinguish the smell patterns of healthy people and those infected with the coronavirus. Dogs will be trained with masks that COVID-19 patients were wearing. The goal of scientists is for dogs to learn how to examine anyone, including asymptomatic infected people, and to be able to signal if there’s a need for a person to be checked.
This way, hundreds of people can be tested at a time. Dogs will be able to quickly sniff out 750 people in an hour, identifying those who need testing. Warned people can stop the spread of the disease by isolating themselves from society.
COVID-19 detecting dogs can be used at airports at the end of the pandemic to detect virus-infected travelers entering the country, or in other places. And this will become a real opportunity to prevent the re-emergence of the epidemic.
2. Twelve sunken ships with treasures were found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea
A team of researchers from the Enigma Shipwrecks Project discovered 12 shipwrecks filled with treasures at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, between Cyprus and Lebanon. A team of scientists notes that such a find for archaeologists is similar to discovering a new planet for astronomers.
Project participants scanned the area using remotely controlled vehicles, making high-resolution images and HD videos. Field research ended a few years ago, but since researchers continue to work on data and artifacts, the find has been kept secret until now.
One of the sunken ships deserves special attention, which is distinguished by the size and value of the carried cargo. It was a 40-meter long Ottoman merchant ship that sank around 1630 during a voyage between Egypt and Istanbul. There were hundreds of artifacts in its hold. Scientists estimate that the cargo of this ship represents 14 different cultures, including those of North Africa, China, India. Italy, Spain, and Belgium. Artifacts include the earliest Chinese porcelain ever found in a Mediterranean shipwreck, Italian ceramics, and Indian pepper.
Artifacts illustrate the global reach of trade in the early 17th century and the way how consumer demand in one country stimulated the production of goods around the world.
The collection of Chinese porcelain found on the ship includes 360 painted cups and dishes. Also, a bottle made at the Jingdezhen kilns during the reign of Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, was found.
In the depths of the hold, Ottoman tobacco pipes made of clay were hidden as well. They were the earliest ones to be ever found by archaeologists not only in the sea but also on land. Scientists believe that it was an illegal cargo because, at that time, there were strict bans on smoking tobacco.
Excavations lasted about five years, and the work was complicated by the depth and muddy bottom. Only now, scientists were able to get to the contents of the ships and claim that their work and expenses paid off in full.
3. ESA recorded a “song” of Earth’s magnetic field
Of course, it is impossible to call Earth a quiet planet. The same cannot be said about space because there are no sounds there, there’s a vacuum.
Everything we see in Hollywood films, including loud explosions in space, is complete nonsense. By the way, even explosions of galaxies will take play in absolute silence. In space, the sound simply has nowhere to spread, there is an airless environment there. However, electromagnetic and radio waves can travel through a vacuum. Naturally, we cannot hear them, but scientists and space researchers can.
It became known that ESA recorded the sounds of the magnetic field of our planet using a magnetometer. In this study, scientists were assisted by a special BepiColombo craft. This unit operates as part of the mission of the ESA and JAXA, the European and Japanese space agencies that continue to explore the secrets of space.
It is worth noting that the sound is quite unusual and sometimes even disturbing and frightening.
By the way, BepiColombo was launched back in 2018. Its main task is to study Mercury. The satellite needs to make nine flights around Mercury, Venus, and Earth in order to gain the necessary speed and overcome gravity.
On April 10, BepiColombo made the first of nine gravitational maneuvers to adjust its trajectory on its way to Mercury. It approached the Earth at a distance of 12,700 km.
During the approach, the onboard cameras were making a set of images, and other devices collected scientific data about the Earth. And two magnetometers, mounted on the remote boom, examined the magnetic field of the planet.