New study shows how ‘our’ RNA stably binds to artificial nucleic acids — ScienceDaily

As medical research progresses, traditional treatment protocols are being rapidly exhausted. New approaches to treat diseases that do not respond to conventional drugs are the need of the hour. In search for these approaches, science has turned to a wide range of potential answers, including artificial nucleic acids. Artificial or xeno nucleic acids are similar to naturally occurring nucleic acids (think DNA and RNA) — but are produced entirely in the laboratory.

Xeno nucleic acids are essential for the development of nucleic acid-based drugs. To be effective, they need to be able to stably bind to natural RNA (a cellular single-stranded version of the DNA, which is essential for all body processes). However, it is unclear how, if at all, RNA hybridizes with these xeno nucleic acids. A new study by researchers from Japan sheds light on this mechanism, opening doors to the development of potentially revolutionary nucleic acid-based drugs.

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Drone Footage Shows Collapse of Observatory

puertorico science astronomy observatory us

RICARDO ARDUENGOGetty Images

  • The famed Arecibo Observatory, featured in the films Contact and Goldeneye, gave way earlier this week after its support cables snapped.
  • The National Science Foundation, which ran the Puerto Rico-based radio observatory, released dramatic drone footage of the collapse.
  • The telescope operated for almost 60 years, scanning the skies for asteroids and alien signals and contributing to our understanding of the universe.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released tragic drone footage of the collapse of the famed Arecibo Observatory, which fell this week after 57 years of service.

    📡You love badass space stuff. So do we. Let’s explore the universe together.

    The observatory—made famous by films like Contact and the James Bond flick Goldeneye—probed the distant reaches of the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life, scanned the skies for fast radio bursts, and tracked marauding asteroids zipping through our solar system. It’s

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    Terrifying footage shows collapse of Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio telescope

    It took 17 seconds for Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio telescope to crumble. It will take much longer for the dust to settle.

    The iconic structure in Puerto Rico collapsed on Dec. 1 after cable failures in August and November made the telescope too delicate to safely repair. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the site, knew that the structure could fall any time and was evaluating how to go about decommissioning the telescope. Now, the agency has shifted to evaluating what to do with its wreckage.

    “We’re in the assessment phase,” Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, said during a news conference held today (Dec. 3).

    Related: Losing Arecibo Observatory creates a hole that can’t be filled

    He said that the University of Central Florida, which operates the site for the NSF, has hired a clean-up contractor who arrived at the telescope yesterday. “They’re

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    PINs and text messages can be inferred from smart speaker recordings, study shows

    Malicious attackers can extract PIN codes and text messages from audio recorded by smart speakers from up to 1.6 feet away. That’s according to a new study authored by researchers at the University of Cambridge, which showed that it’s possible to capture virtual keyboard taps with microphones located on nearby devices, like Alexa- and Google Assistant-powered speakers.

    Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other smart speakers pack microphones that are always on in the sense that they process audio they hear in order to detect wake-up phrases like “OK Google” and “Alexa.” These wake-phrase detectors occasionally send audio data to remote servers. Studies have found that up to a minute of audio can be uploaded to servers without any keywords present, either by accident or absent privacy controls. Reporting has revealed that accidental activations have exposed contract workers to private conversations, and researchers say these activations could reveal sensitive information like

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    Spotify’s 2020 Gaming Recap Shows PlayStation and Xbox Usage Is Way Up

    You’ve probably seen pretty much everyone you follow online posting their 2020 Wrapped info from Spotify, detailing everyone’s stats for time listened, top artists, genres, podcasts, and more. Well gamers, we haven’t been excluded from the trend. This year, Spotify recorded an almost 55% increase globally in streaming from game consoles, both Xbox and PlayStation, as revealed in a special Wrapped that highlights what those users were listening to this year.

    Video game soundtracks did particularly well, unsurprisingly. Minecraft, Doom, and Death Stranding all had their soundtracks in the top streamed category this year, and the soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 spiked more than 316% once the game launched. It’s hard to get those punk rock anthems out of your head after hearing them for several hours at a time. While some of the songs were new, many others also appeared on the original games.

    If you don’t

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    Steam PC Gaming Hardware Survey Shows AMD Ryzen CPUs Continue To Take Share From Intel

    AMD Ryzen

    AMD versus Intel is sort of a David versus Goliath story, only these days, AMD has armed itself with more than just a slingshot. Zen is the real deal. That is abundantly clear by now, but lest anyone needs reminding, a peek at Steam’s latest hardware survey results for November 2020 show how well AMD’s processors are being received by gamers, as it continues to, uh, chip away at Intel’s share.

    I can hear the groans at the pun, but bear with me. The point is, this is a different AMD versus Intel battle than in past years, before Zen came along. AMD for a long time was the also-ran, while Intel dominated the market with better performing CPUs at the high end. But now? The Ryzen 5000 series is an awesome lineup, while the previous generation Ryzen 3000 series still holds its own.

    Combined with excellent platform support—X570 and

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    New study shows how methane breaks through icy barriers on the sea floor

    new study shows how methan breaks through icy barriers on the sea floor
    A new study has solved the mystery of how and why columns of the methane gas can stream out of methane hydrates. Both the bubble tubes and the inverted droplets are encased in clear gas hydrate. Credit: Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2017.

    Methane, the main component of natural gas, is the cleanest-burning of all the fossil fuels, but when emitted into the atmosphere it is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. By some estimates, seafloor methane contained in frozen formations along the continental margins may equal or exceed the total amount of coal, oil, and gas in all other reservoirs worldwide. Yet, the way methane escapes from these deep formations is poorly understood.


    In particular, scientists have been faced with a puzzle. Observations at sites around the world have shown vigorous columns of methane gas bubbling up

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    New Survey Shows How Bitcoin Is Giving PayPal a Boost

    Just three weeks after PayPal  (PYPL) – Get Report began allowing all of its U.S. users to trade Bitcoin, it looks like a substantial fraction of its user base has already taken the company up on its offer.

    Mizuho Securities recently surveyed 380 U.S. PayPal users, and found that 17% of them have already traded Bitcoin via their PayPal accounts. In addition, 65% of those who had traded Bitcoin via PayPal said that they’re willing to use the cryptocurrency to buy goods and services.

    What’s more — though this number is influenced by the fact that Bitcoin traders appear to be more active PayPal users to begin with — those trading Bitcoin via PayPal were said to be using the PayPal app more than three times as much as non Bitcoin-traders. And about half of the Bitcoin traders reported using other PayPal functions more after they started trading

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    Interesting video shows nighttime military operations near Area 51

    • Video filmed outside of Area 51 seems to show infrared flares released during possible nighttime special-operations training.
    • It’s impossible to tell what is actually going on just from the video, but whatever it was, it was big and it looked interesting.
    • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

    While many of the videos taken near “Area 51” tend to float the usual UFO conspiracy theories, some happen to catch interesting real-world air activity. Earlier this November was one of those occasions.

    Well-known YouTube videographers Tim & Tracy of the UFO Seekers channel made an interesting clip shot from outside the restricted Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) north of Nellis Air Force Base.

    The new video shows some common NTTR activity including the “camo dude” security personnel, the comings and goings of NTTR employee shuttles and, more interestingly, a lot of air activity over the region, especially at night.

    F-16 fighter jets

    Two

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    Portland Tech Community is Optimistic, Focused on Innovation and Growth Despite the Pandemic, ProFocus Technology Trends Report Shows

    PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite economic uncertainty, Portland’s Silicon Forest is lifting the local economy and remains insulated from the worst of the pandemic-driven downturn. Budgets are increasing, companies are hiring, and salaries are rising. These findings and other key sentiments from ProFocus Technology’s “Portland Tech in Focus: 2021 Trends Report” point to near-term economic recovery and upbeat forecasts for technology development and teams throughout the Portland area.

    According to the survey of more than 260 local technology professionals, more than a third of respondents say their 2021 budget will increase (36%) and another third say it will stay the same (33%), compared to just 20% who expect a decrease. Companies are hiring, too, with 42% expecting an increase in full-time employees and 27% anticipating more contractors next year. Portland’s technology community is positioned for growth and opportunity, with 68% reporting they can personally innovate in their jobs and 62%

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