Frog Mucus Studied to Create Flu Medicine

Anything can become a gift of a curse to survival in this world. While diseases such as influenza continue to threaten the lives of many, scientists are claiming to find the answers for the disease in a very unlikely place: the mucus layer of frogs.

Frog Mucus Being Studied by Emory University

The scientists at Emory University have been working on the discovery of an antimicrobial peptide based in the skin of a specific frog species – the hydrophylax bahuvistara – and its potential use against the flu. The species of frog is indigenous to a location in south India, and its mucus is being hailed as a viable treatment to a disease that claims close to half a million patients per year all over the globe.

The frog has been understood to secrete a thin layer of film on top of its skin that works to protect the frog from harmful pathogens in the wild. Residing in this mucus film is and amino acid string that is claimed to be capable of completely eliminating a massive array of viruses from the influenza A family, while being harmless to the human body and its red blood cells.

Why This is a Big Thing

The potential of the discovery is huge, as the new string can be a strong answer to the current line of flu viruses, a lot of which have already developed resistance to existing antiviral drugs. However, the amino acid string is likely to face a long list of regulatory and testing hurdles before it can be commercialized as an actual treatment for the flu.

To show the potential of the discovery, the strains from the frog mucus were utilized to completely destroy every type of H1 flu it was put up against. The H1 strain of flu, the most common version of hemagglutinin, also includes the seasonal flue and the widely dreaded swine flu, H1N1. The team of scientists has christened the amino acid string as “urumin,” a nickname generated from the urumi, a sword used in martial arts of Kalari Payat, practiced close to the region where the frogs were found.

The discovery has been hailed to hold a strong potential against upcoming new strains of influenza, much like the swine flu strains that started appearing around 2009.

Algorithm Designed to Help Curb Terror Attacks and Hate Crimes

With random terror attacks and other forms of hate crimes on the rise worldwide, authorities are hard pressed to find a solution to save innocent lives. While police and secret service agencies are continuously upping monitoring, scientists have come up with another solution. They have devised a method to keep a tab on the movements of hundreds of individuals at the same time and uncover suspicious behavior.

What differentiates the software from others so far and how does it work?

The research developed by Mubarak Shah and Afshin Dehghan and to be published in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, leverages a mathematical function to study five factors that will aid in finding out where a person will go next. The software registers appearance, neighbor motion, target motion, spatial proximity, and grouping to find out how an individual will move around in a crowd and even predict their likely actions.

The developers of the algorithm studied nine crowd videos, in which the number of people ranged from 57 to 747. The program’s effectiveness in tracking every person was between 67% and 99%. The program is still being tested before it can be launched in the market. Once it happens, it shall hopefully go a long way in thwarting untoward incidents in crowded places.

So far, computer-based studies have only been able to monitor one person at a time in recorded videos and mostly rely on appearance. The latest algorithm, however, is slated to change all that by enabling surveying the entire crowd at a time.

AMD Announces Launch of Radeon RX 500-series Graphic Cards

In addition to AMD’s new Ryzen 5 processors, the company has announced a new lineup of graphic cards called Radeon RX 500-series. In accordance to Radeon RX 400-series which was released by AMD 2016, RX 500-series comprises a new low-end GPU which focuses essentially on e-sports as well as home theater PCs, aspiring to justify the tagline, “Polaris refined and evolved.”

Refresh Issues Addressed
Refresh rate has been a cause of concern for enthusiasts since long, and AMD made striking progress with RX 400-series, and has made further improvements with RX 500-series, which is a reflection of combat issues addressed by the original cards. Radeon RX 480 was very well received by the enthusiasts, but its limitation was reached at a maximum of 1,266MHz boost speed. RX 400-series and now RX 500-series are two steps in positive direction, overcoming power-draw controversy that emerged during the launch, which was later readily fixed by AMD.

RX 500-series
AMD has powered the Radeon RX 500-series with its third generation 14nm process, capable of achieving much higher clock speeds managed by its predecessors. Besides a 1,340MHz boost clock in addition to 1,257MHz base clock, AMD has included a new power state in the Radeon RX 500-series, which allows it run at significantly reduced power when idle, using multi-monitor setups, and while watching video. With Radeon, AMD aspire considerable temperature and power gains in games that support the Radeon Chill.

While Radeon RX 580 can crank up clocks from 150W to 185W, Radeon RX 560 provides notable increment over the RX 460, reaching 1,175MHz base and 1,275MHz boost speeds. On the other hand, Radeon RX 550 is an entirely fresh model targeting home theater PC aficionados and e-sports gamers, with 2GB memory, running over a 128-bit bus. A limited number of models are also expected to offer 4GB capacity.

PayPal and Android Pay Join Hands to Make Digital Payments Easier

PayPal announced its collaboration with Google’s Android Pay as PayPal intends to work beyond conventional means that stretch to mobile applications and regular retailers. This partnership will allow PayPal to be a method of payment for users through Android Pay service. Thus, users will have the convenience using this payment service for Uber, Walgreens, Subway, and Dunkin’ Donuts in the near future. The service will enable users to see their balance on PayPal along with letting them include their cards to the account in the coming next months. Google’s digital wallet has brought the rivals to agree on a common ground, making the purchasing experience easier and convenient for users.

The moves is in line with the company ongoing efforts to collaborate with rivals as it did with Visa. The partnership between Visa and PayPal has allowed users to make payments via smartphones. Additionally, it also allowed Venmo users to withdraw money from their Venmo account that is linked to Visa cards. PayPal has been sincerely making efforts to be a part of the digital payments landscape.

Apple Emerges as a Strong Contender

PayPal has joined hands with MasterCard for enabling store payments. This collaboration has allowed PayPal’s Braintree merchants to use MasterCard’s digital wallet as a mode of payment. The company is trying to break into the stiff competition created by Apple Pay by increasing users for its point-of-sales. The digitization move by Apple is estimated to lure in 86 million users for the company. Following similar footsteps is expected to help the economy, vendors, and consumers over the coming few years.