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Nanoscale Motion Detector for Drug Development and Extraterrestrial Life Search

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EPFL scientists have developed an extremely sensitive yet simple motion detector that can be built easily by adapting already-existent technology. The system has proven accurate with detecting bacteria, yeast, and even cancer cells, and is considered for the rapid testing of drugs and even the detection of extraterrestrial life.

The research paper, published in December on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is titled “Detecting nanoscale vibrations as signature of life.”

If something is alive, it moves. For example, a bacterium attached to the sensor will move or vibrate, and its movement will be detected as a signature of life. That is the main application of the new sensor for drug development. A sensor array could be covered with bacteria or cancer cells and incubated with various drug compounds. If the drugs are effective against the attached cells, the motion signals would decrease or stop altogether as the cells die off. This approach would be considerably quicker than current high-throughput systems used in by pharmaceutical companies when looking for candidate antibiotics or anticancer drugs.

The detection system relies only on motion rather than chemistry.

Finding Life in Extraterrestrial Environments

Nanoscale motion detector

Osteoblast cell on the surface of the cantilever in the nanoscale motion detection system.

“The system has the benefit of being completely chemistry-free. That means that it can be used anywhere – in drug testing or even in the search for extraterrestrial life.”

In fact, the researchers envisage applications to finding life in extreme and extraterrestrial environments. In a breakthrough discovery earlier this month, NASA’s Curiosity rover found organic molecules on Mars, which could indicate the presence of life on Mars. If confirmed, the detection of life on Mars would be one of the most spectacular – and important – scientific discoveries that we can imagine. It is then important to develop efficient means to study primitive life on Mars, and the EPFL nanoscale motion sensor could be very useful.

Also read: NASA Curiosity Rover Finds Organic Matter on Mars

Even small microorganisms vibrate in response to their metabolic activity, and the vibrations can be detected by the nanomotion detector. The proposed technique does not measure the chemical response of life, which would require prior knowledge of the metabolic pathways involved. Instead, it monitors the physical manifestation of any kind of metabolic activity the microorganisms might have.

[W]e’re still calling ESA and NASA to see if they’re interested.

Images from EPFL and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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Crypto Market Development: South Korea’s National Policy Committee Chair Calls For ICO Legalization

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  • A member of South Korea’s governing Democratic party and the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, Min Byung-Doo, is urging to ease the current regulations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
  • Min Byung-Doo wants to introduce necessary regulatory framework, allowing ICOs in the country.

Allow ICOs In South Korea

The South Korean National Policy Committee Chief, Min Byung-Doo, is calling for a regulatory framework to be explored. This would be to allow for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to take place within the country. He stated that the current prohibiting of ICOs weakens the industry’s competitiveness appeal with foreign markets. Further boldly adding, this would be preventing growth.

In his statement at to lawmakers, Byung-Doo said, “We can see that the flow of investment is clearly changing compared to ICO and angel fundraising. The ICO has raised $1.7 billion for Telegram and $4 billion for Block.One, it is getting bigger and bigger.”

Further in the statement, Min Byung-Doo said, “Let the government, the National Assembly and the blockchain association quickly create a working group to block fraud, speculation, money laundering and develop the block-chain industry,”. However, he acknowledged the government’s reluctance to create the needed framework.

In September 2017, the Financial Services Commission in South Korea announced a ban on ICOs. The law has not yet been enacted.

Crypto Market Reaction

A lack of reaction has been observed for now, despite this determination to help further legitimize the digital currency market in South Korea. Crypto market developments in the country are always watched very carefully. This is given their large crypto market participation. It was reported in December 2017 that South Korea accounted for as much as 17% of all Ethereum trades occurring in cryptocurrency markets.

Market Reactions To South Korean Related News

Ripple (XRP) crashed in January, following CoinMarketCap’s decision to remove XRP price data from Korean exchange desks. This as a result largely brought down the total average.

XRP/USD Coinmarketcap update triggered drop

On 11th January, Korean crypto exchange Coinrail was hacked, and over $40 million in tokens were stolen. Bitcoin initially dropped over 11% on this.

BTC/USD Coinrail hack triggered drop

One final example, UPbit, a South Korean exchange, was investigated by authorities for illicitly moving customer funds to the account of its executives. Bitcoin initially dropped over 7% on the news.

BTC/USD UPbit investigation triggered drop

Given the above mentioned, one should keep an eye on any developments coming out of South Korea, for the foreseeable future.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Crypto Market Update: Japan’s Self-Regulatory Group (JVCEA) Readying Tighter Rules on Digital Assets

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  • A group of cryptocurrency exchange operators in Japan is readying to tighten up measures following recent cyber breach.
  • Action follows reported hack earlier in the month; cryptocurrency exchange Zaif lost an estimated $59.67 million.

Self-Regulatory Group Set To Tighten Rules

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is exploring new rules to safeguard against cyber theft, including setting a cap on the amount of digital currencies managed online. This is citing informed sources, being reported by local news outlet, the Japan Times.

Informed sources detailed that the cap will likely to be around 10 – 20% of customer deposits. The JVCEA are said to be soon revising its rules, which were originally drawn up in June following multiple cyber attacks. These will be implemented once all has been approved by the Financial Services Agency. This is as part of the payment services law process in the country.

The move likely received large motive due to the reported hack earlier in September. The Japanese start-up Tech Bureau said that its cryptocurrency exchange, known as Zaif, had been hacked. Losses were estimated around $59.67 million of Bitcoin and two other digital currencies -Bitcoin Cash and Monacoin.

Market Reaction

No initial reaction was observed across the cryptocurrency market on this latest update, coming out of Japan as of Sunday 30th September. Despite this, however, Japan and crypto sell-off are not uncommon to have been used in the same sentence over the past years and even months. This means volatility could be in store for digital assets in the short term.

Back in January of this year, the largest reported hack on a Japanese exchange took place with Coincheck losing $530 million worth of NEM in a coordinated attack. This incident massively spooked the market, and was  a heavy contributor to the large sell-off in January. As we’ve observed over the past eight months, the market has yet to reclaim January’s peak (although this can’t be solely attributed to the theft). At the time, South Korea’s Attorney General had already spooked investors with FUD related to the possible banning of digital currencies in the country.

Against this backdrop, investors are advised to pay attention to Japan-related volatility.

BTC/USD weekly chart

Most recently, looking in the month of June, another sell-off was seen. This one came after Japan’s financial regulator ordered several cryptocurrency exchanges to improve their practices against money laundering. The action led bitFlyer — the country’s largest crypto exchange — to suspend new account creation. This was initiated to improve internal processes in order to curb money laundering and terrorist financing.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Hacking Matter

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Vindicates Radical Visions of Molecular Nanotechnology

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 was awarded jointly to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.” The award vindicates the dreams of nanotechnology enthusiasts, and points the way to the molecular nanotechnology proposed by Drexler in the eighties.

(more…)

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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