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16.10.2021
20:43 ScienceDaily.com How to program DNA robots to poke and prod cell membranes (2)

A discovery of how to build little blocks out of DNA and get them to stick to lipids has implications for biosensing and mRNA vaccines.

20:21 ScienceDaily.com Discovery of new role for the brain’s immune cells could have Alzheimer's implications (2)

The immune cells, known as microglia, also help regulate blood flow and maintain the brain's critical blood vessels, researchers have discovered. The findings may prove important in cognitive decline, dementia and stroke, among other conditions linked to diseases of the brain's small vessels.

18:25 Technology.org Our brains keep tabs on threats in our peripheral vision, researchers find (2)

While you’re concentrating on whatever’s right in front of your eyes, your brain is doing you a favour

16:45 ScienceDaily.com Study discovers unique brain signature of intimate partner aggression (2)

A new study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brain activity of 51 male-female romantic couples as they experienced intimate partner aggression in real time. They found that aggression toward intimate partners was associated with aberrant activity in the brain's medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, which has many functions, but among them is the ability to foster perceptions of closeness with and value of other people.

16:13 TheStar.com Martin Regg Cohn: Here’s why Doug Ford won’t congratulate the Ontario-born winner of the Nobel Prize for economics (2)

This just in — just not noted by Doug Ford: The Nobel Prize for economics has been awarded to Ontario-born academic David Card. Congratulations came first from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, followed quickly by a public salute from the leader of Ontario’s loyal Opposition, Andrea Horwath. Yet not a peep, as yet, from the premier. When I asked his office why not, no answer. Why has Ford lost his tongue over a global triumph? What’s not to like about the latest, greatest contribution to economics? After all, Ford is quick to boast about the province’s wealth of world-beating human talent. Is not a Nobel Prize a valid proof point, or personal vindication, for a premier who tells the world that our classrooms produce world-class graduates? Educated at Queen’s University, born and raised near Guelph (not unlike another renowned economist, the late John Kenneth Galbraith), Card has been praised in every quarter this week. Yet he remains unheralded at Queen’s Park. Ford’s silence amid the province’s hour of triumph is a teachable moment, and a cautionary tale of competing storylines. The plain-spoken premier is not fond of “elite economists” cloistered in the “ivory tower,” as he disparaged them in a remarkable 2019 speech. Yet that hardly describes Card, who was raised on a farm and now does cutting edge field work. He broke new ground on the minimum wage, shattering the conventional wisdom that raising the hourly rate would prompt employers to reduce the number of workers. Until then, old-school economists relied on outdated econometric models based on arbitrary assumptions that are about as reliable as tomorrow’s weather forecast or last month’s epidemiological predictions. Card’s master stroke was to leave the confines of his UCLA Berkeley campus to perform a more natural field experiment, without recourse to esoteric models. He co-authored a study on the impact of a minimum-wage increase on New Jersey fast food joints by comparing them to neighbouring Pennsylvania, where the hourly rate remained static. When he measured the fallout, employment didn’t fall when wages rose, as people like Ford keep insisting. Card’s findings were greeted with skepticism in the 1990s, but are now widely accepted by economists who have replicated that experiment in other jurisdictions. In 2003, more than 650 Americans economists highlighted his work, echoed in 2017 by 40 Canadian economists who signed an open letter cautioning against “fear-mongering that is out of line with the latest economic research.” Truth be told, Card’s empirical research is an inconvenient truth for Ford. Upon taking power in mid-2018, the premier promptly cancelled a scheduled increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour and imposed a freeze for the next two-and-a-half years (he also cut two paid sick days). When the freeze expired, the rate increased by a paltry 25 cents to catch up with inflation last year, and another 10 cents this year. In fact, employment increased steadily and the unemployment rate declined to record low levels after the last Liberal government jacked up the minimum wage from $11.40 to $14 an hour. That’s because higher wages can reduce turnover and increase productivity, as employers are discovering amid today’s mid-pandemic labour shortages. Still, Ford clings to his own idiosyncratic economic compass. Detailing his vision in 2019, he resolved to “ring the warning bell that the risk of a carbon-tax recession is very real.” Never happened — Ontario’s recession came from COVID-19, not carbon. But on Friday, Ford was back to his imaginary economy. “The carbon tax is the single worst tax on the backs of Canadians that’s ever existed,” he told reporters. “I’m a strong believer in a different theory — put money back into people’s pockets. They’re going to be able to go out there and, you know, buy a refrigerator, do a renovation, go for dinner, so on, so forth. That’s what stimulates the economy.” Forgetting for a moment his wilful distortion of the federal carbon levy — fully rebated to motorists, not retained by government — Ford’s musings on “what stimulates the economy” could be unintentionally instructive. Putting higher wages “back into people’s pockets” is precisely what underlies the minimum wage increases that lift all boats. Ford has long since lost the battle over the carbon levy, but it’s not too late for him to wake up to wage rates. With a provincial election looming next year, the premier could reinstate the minimum wage trajectory he so rashly overturned (and restore the permanent paid sick days he removed). Better belatedly than never, the premier could ring up the professor for congratulations — and conversations. There’s still time for him to learn a lesson from this “elite economist.” Card could point him to Americans — not just on the coasts, but in conservative states and federally — who have embraced a minimum wage of U.S. $15 and higher. That works out to more than $18.55 in Canadian currency, and exceeds $20 in some jurisdictions. Ford’s favourite boast is that Ontario is “open for business.” It’s time to open his mind to what works for both business and workers — based on prizewinning research, not political rhetoric. Martin Regg Cohn is a Toronto-based columnist focusing on Ontario politics and international affairs for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @reggcohn

14:18 LiveScience.com Stunning images show how muscles heal themselves after a workout (2)

Scientists discovered a previously unknown step in the muscle repair process.

13:35 Phys.org Martian Image: the ridges of 'South Séítah' (2)

NASA's Perseverance rover captures a geologic feature with details that offer clues to the area's mysterious past.

12:43 Technology.org Same injury, different brain (2)

Five years ago, Odette Harris, MD, professor of neurosurgery and a brain trauma expert, began to weave an age-old question into

11:16 Technology.org Nanoscale lattices flow from 3D printer (2)

Weaving intricate, microscopic patterns of crystal or glass is now possible thanks to engineers at Rice University. Rice