Tag Archives: Ars Technica

Hate needles? This ingestible pill painlessly injects drugs into your gut

Self-righting capsule orients itself in the gastric cavity and delivers biologic molecules to the tissue wall.

Enlarge / Self-righting capsule orients itself in the gastric cavity and delivers biologic molecules to the tissue wall. (credit: Science | Felice Frankel)

If the sight of a doctor flicking a needle makes you cringe, you may be better off going with your gut, according to a team of researchers at MIT and Harvard.

The team is working to knock out the need for painful, anxiety-inducing shots by having patients gulp a pill instead. But not just any pill, but an autonomous one that can right itself in your gut while packing a tiny, spring-loaded shot of drugs that it then injects directly into the thick wall of your stomach. The painless prick could deliver therapeutic payloads that normally wouldn’t survive the harsh, acidic environment

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Rocket Report: Rogozin’s crazy promise, SpaceX tests Mars engine, SLS slips

Cartoon rocket superimposed over real rocket launch.

Enlarge / The mighty Delta IV Heavy rocket takes to the skies. (credit: Aurich Lawson/United Launch Alliance)

Welcome to Edition 1.35 of the Rocket Report! The leader of Russia’s space program, Dmitry Rogozin, has promised his president that the country can double its launch total this year. And if you believe that, well, we’ve got a trampoline to sell you that will allow your astronauts to reach orbit.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on

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Vaccinations jump 500% in antivax hotspot amid measles outbreak

Administration of a measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.

Enlarge / Administration of a measles, mumps, rubella vaccine. (credit: Getty | MediaNews Group/Orange County )

Demand for measles vaccines leapt 500 percent last month in Clark County, Washington—a hotbed for anti-vaccine sentiment that has now become the epicenter of a ferocious measles outbreak.

As of February 6, the county—which sits just north of the border from Portland, Oregon—has tallied 50 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of measles since January 1. The case count is rising swiftly, with figures more than doubling in just the last two weeks. On January 18, the county declared a public health emergency due to the outbreak.

Health officials have long feared an outbreak in the area, given the rampant skepticism of vaccines driven by misinformation and fear-mongering by

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2018 ranks as fourth-warmest year for globe

NASA's 2018 temperatures compared to the 1951-1980 average. (Numbers shown in K are identical to degrees Celsius.)

Enlarge / NASA’s 2018 temperatures compared to the 1951-1980 average. (Numbers shown in K are identical to degrees Celsius.) (credit: NASA)

It’s that time of year again… or at least it was. NASA and NOAA normally release the final global temperature data for the previous year around January 18, but the government shutdown delayed that release. It finally happened on Wednesday, with both agencies finding that 2018 ranks at number four on the ever-changing list of the warmest years on record.

That matches the ranking from the independent Berkeley Earth dataset, which they released on January 24 by accessing raw US data during the shutdown. The UK Met Office also released its data today, ranking 2018 similarly.

So why 4th place? Last year settles in

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French auditor says Ariane 6 rocket too conventional to compete with SpaceX

Artist's view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using two boosters (A62) on the ELA-4 launch pad together with its mobile launch gantry.

Enlarge / Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using two boosters (A62) on the ELA-4 launch pad together with its mobile launch gantry. (credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

France’s independent state auditor, the Cour des comptes, has raised concerns about the viability of Europe’s new rocket, the Ariane 6 launcher. In its 2019 annual report, the auditor said the France-based launch company Arianespace is also being too cautious as it grapples with competitors like the US-based SpaceX.

“In 2017, Arianespace lost global leadership in the commercial market to the American company SpaceX,” the report finds. “This competitor’s business model is based on the breakthrough model of reusable rockets.”

The report discusses the potential for further losses of market share and revenues against the

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Infamous pharma company declares bankruptcy after 3,900% price hike

Man wipes really expensive cream from his face.

Enlarge / Man wipes really expensive cream from his face. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

The Chicago-based pharmaceutical company that made headlines in 2016 for dramatically raising the prices of cheap skin creams has now filed for bankruptcy. The filing cites, in part, profit-scorching backlash from the price increases, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In September of 2016, Ars reported that the company, Novum Pharma, had repeatedly raised the price of an old, cheap skin cream, bringing its list price from $241.50 to $9,561 a tube—a 3,900 percent increase total. The cream, called Aloquin, is “possibly effective” for treating eczema and acne, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It’s composed of a generic antibiotic and extracts from the aloe vera plant.

Novum raised

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Lonely black holes revealed by passing gravitational waves

22 January 2019, Lower Saxony, Sarstedt: Lower Saxony's science minister Björn Thümler (l, CDU) and Karsten Danzmann, director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) are in the GEO600 detector. The German-British GEO600 detector in Ruthe near Sarstedt south of Hanover is a highly sensitive measuring device and has contributed to the spectacular detection of gravitational waves. The proof of gravitational waves was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Enlarge / 22 January 2019, Lower Saxony, Sarstedt: Lower Saxony’s science minister Björn Thümler (l, CDU) and Karsten Danzmann, director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) are in the GEO600 detector. The German-British GEO600 detector in Ruthe near Sarstedt south of Hanover is a highly sensitive measuring device and has contributed to the spectacular detection of gravitational waves. The proof of gravitational waves was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images) (credit: Picture Alliance | Getty Images)

Today is a good day: I learned something new. Many of you have probably heard of gravitational lensing of light (if not, don’t worry, I will inflict an explanation on you below). But it

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Researchers edit coral genes, hope to understand how to save them

Enlarge (credit: NOAA)

Coral reefs are the poster-organisms for ecosystem services, aiding fisheries, promoting biodiversity, and protecting land from heavy waves. Unfortunately, we seem to be repaying them by killing them. Our warming oceans are causing coral bleaching and death, rising sea levels will force them to move, and the acidification of our oceans will make it harder for them to form reefs. It would be nice if we could help them, but interventions are difficult to design when you don’t know enough about coral biology.

Now scientists have announced a new tool is available to study corals: genetic editing provided by the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The ability to selectively eliminate genes could help us understand how corals function normally and could eventually provide a tool

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A short new movie of a comet’s surface is pretty incredible

Enlarge / False-color image showing the smooth Hapi region connecting the head and body of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. (credit: ESA)

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in 2014 and subsequently became the first mission to ever orbit around a comet. Additionally, its small Philae lander became the first to touch down on a comet’s surface—although it was subsequently lost after it was unable to deploy its solar panels in a proper configuration to capture enough energy to continue operations.

During its two years in varying orbits around the comet, which is about 4km on its longest side, Rosetta captured some unprecedented imagery of these Solar System interlopers. Now, a Twitter user named landru79 has combed through the Rosetta image archives and found a

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On his first day, NASA’s new administrator sets an inclusive tone

Enlarge / Jim Bridenstine, standing with his family, takes the oath of office from Vice President Mike Pence. (credit: NASA)

During his lengthy confirmation process to become NASA’s new administrator, Oklahoma conservative Jim Bridenstine got pilloried for being a divider rather than a uniter. Noting Bridenstine’s attacks on Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential election, Florida Senator Bill Nelson characterized Bridenstine’s politics as “divisive and extreme.” Given that the space agency was apolitical, Nelson asked, “How do you keep NASA from being dragged down in a divisive political background?”

Nelson, a Democrat, was never satisfied with Bridenstine’s answers and opposed his nomination to become administrator until the end. As a result, so did the entire Democratic party, and this forced a tense, party-line vote on

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