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Friday, June 05, 2020

Kabir Firaque


Kabir Firaque is a civil engineering graduate-turned-news journalist with an interest in recreational mathematics and cinema. His interactive blog on puzzles, ‘Problematics’, appears weekly.

Explained: Can a handheld device kill virus with UV light?
Thu, Jun 04, 2020

Ultraviolet radiation in the 200-300 nanometre range is known to destroy the virus, making it incapable of reproducing and infecting, according to Pennsylvania State University, which was involved in the new research.

Explained: Why do some Covid-19 patients lose their sense of smell?
Sat, May 30, 2020

“The sense of smell in Covid-19 patients appears to be lost, because the sustentacular cells assist neurons in sensing odours, probably by processing odour-binding proteins,” Butowt said.

Explained: Why risk of virus transmission in an aircraft is seen as low
Wed, May 27, 2020

Studies over the years have sought to quantify the infection risk. Here, we look at two recent ones — neither study, however, looks specifically at the coronavirus pandemic.

Explained: In pregnant women with Covid-19, injuries in placenta
Wed, May 27, 2020

A new concern has emerged around pregnant women who have Covid-19 — damaged placentas.

New Research: Two antibodies from SARS survivors, and how they react to new coronavirus
Thu, May 21, 2020

One antibody, called S309, taken from a SARS survivor from 2003, has been shown in the lab to neutralise SARS-CoV-2. The results were reported in Nature this week.

New Research: Why does age make it more difficult to fight Covid-19?
Thu, May 21, 2020

A group of molecules that should be fighting the virus are diminished with age and chronic health problems, researchers report in the journal Aging and Disease.

Explained: A new species discovered on Twitter, named after Twitter
Sat, May 16, 2020

Meet Troglomyces twitteri, a fungus spotted on a Twitter image by a Denmark biologist. What is this species, and what is its relationship with millipedes?

Cleaner China air saved more lives than Covid claimed, study finds
Sat, May 16, 2020

How many lives have been saved as a result of reduced pollution? Here's what a new study has found in China.

Cats can infect cats with Covid, without symptoms: unpacking a new study
Sat, May 16, 2020

The fact that cats can get infected by the coronavirus has been known for some time now; what do the latest findings add to existing knowledge?

Explaind: Why Florence Nightingale matters today, how Covid-19 outbreak threatens her legacy
Tue, May 12, 2020

From her stress on handwashing to the use of data to assess healthcare outcomes, the battle against the pandemic is a constant reminder of her work. Yet the same pandemic threatens to shut down a museum dedicated to her.

Does nicotine help fight COVID-19? The science behind a novel hypothesis
Tue, May 05, 2020

Researchers in France have put forward a hypothesis that the presence of nicotine actually equips the body to fight COVID-19.

Explained: How remdesivir tricks coronavirus
Sat, May 09, 2020

Remdesivir is designed to obstruct the stage of replication, when the virus creates copies of itself, followed endlessly by the copies creating copies of themselves.

Explained: What coronavirus ‘copy machine’ looks like
Sat, May 02, 2020

Researchers have reported that they have determined the 3D structure of this “copy machine”. This makes it possible to investigate how drugs such as remdesivir work, they note.

Explained: In homemade masks, two fabrics better than one
Fri, May 01, 2020

A study has examined the ability of various materials to keep out respiratory particles — and by extension the novel coronavirus — and identified a combination of two fabrics as possibly the best: either cotton plus natural silk, or cotton plus chiffon.

Explained: Where does Covid-19 virus first strike? Study pinpoints two cell types in nose
Wed, Apr 29, 2020

The new study has identified the specific cells where the mechanism of entry most likely comes into play when the virus begins it attack.

Game of Life: the enduring legacy of John Conway, lost to coronavirus
Thu, Apr 16, 2020

John Horton Conway will be best remembered for the “Game of Life”, which he invented around 1970 and which continues, 50 years later, to fascinate people, including many who are not mathematicians.

Explained: How coronavirus attacks, step by step
Sun, Apr 19, 2020

It is still a ‘novel’ coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but the emerging picture has given researchers clues about how to target it. A look at its structure, how it infects, and the behaviours scientists hope to block

New York Zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus: Are cats at particular risk?
Tue, Apr 07, 2020

Coronavirus: Several lions and tigers at the Bronx zoo in New York, in fact, have shown symptoms of respiratory illness.

How a little shell tells us the day was 23½ hours long, once upon a time
Mon, Mar 16, 2020

It has long been known that Earth’s spin has slowed over time. A new study looks at daily and annual variations in the mollusc shell.

Why pi matters: part of our lives, its Day ruined by outbreak this year
Sat, Mar 14, 2020

It is dedicated to pi, whose value up to five decimal places is 3.14159. The idea originated in the United States, where the convention is to write dates in a format that expresses March 14 as 3/14.