Numlock News: January 29, 2024 • Jump Rope, Ants, Fanzor
By Walt Hickey
The average bill for the repair of an American vehicle is $4,437, and for an electric vehicle that is up to $6,618, about 49 percent higher. Collision insurance claims have increased 64 percent between 2018 and 2022, fueled by increasingly sophisticated cars and more complicated things that need to get fixed when they get broken. No longer are we just hammering out dents, but rather we’re taking computers out of the car and fixing it.
A new study tied the ramifications of an invasive ant species to difficulties faced by lions hunting on the savannah. Across three years of study, researchers found that invasive ants are driving out native species of ants that defend the whistling thorn tree. Since their standard insect defenders are being killed off, significant problems for the trees have emerged, mainly that elephants are stripping and toppling the trees for fun, destroying the thorn foliage that lions use to hide. This is making it hard for lions to catch the right kind of camouflage, and they’re getting worse at hunting in the areas where the ants are hanging out: Elephants are toppling trees that lack native ants seven times faster than the trees that retain their ants, and lions are able to kill zebras three times as often in areas that the invasive ants have not hit. They found zebra kills made up only 42 percent of hunting activity in 2020, versus 67 percent in 2003.
The discovery of CRISPR has fundamentally changed our relationship with our own genome, as CRISPR allows us to dive on in and specifically remove and replace different strands of genetic material. CRISPR-Cas remains a compelling way to adjust and alter genetic material, so promising that it’s led to a Nobel Prize and is seen as the future of genetic alterations. The discovery of CRISPR, a way to cut into DNA, has led further to the discovery of Fanzor, which is a similar gene that can do DNA splicing. As it stands, Fanzor can cut the target gene site just 18.4 percent of the time, which is way worse than CRISPR. Fanzor also makes a match at 15 DNA bases, which is an issue because CRISPR needs 18 to 20 bases, which makes CRISPR much more accurate.
Last Wednesday, the Atlanta Vibe played the Omaha Supernovas in the first ever game of the Pro Volleyball Federation. It is one of three new U.S. women’s pro volleyball leagues, in addition to the League One Volleyball launching later this fall and Athletes Unlimited, which just wrapped its third season. Opening night saw a crowd of 11,624. PVF players are under contract for a 24-match regular season, and the league champion is looking at $1 million divided among players and staff.
A thing hit the Earth, and then Earth kept some of the matter, and then the rest spun off as the moon. After that, according to planetary scientists, not much else hit the Earth head on. Scientists would love to know what hit Earth prior to 3.5 billion years ago, and to figure that out they look to the moon, which wears its wounds pretty aggressively. On Earth, the record of what actually hit us in the period between 3.5 billion years ago and 2.5 billion years ago remains a bit of a mystery. In Australia and South Africa, there remains some evidence: tiny balls of glass called spherules that formed after something hit us, piling up and raining down into the sediment.
There are 4,500 AM radio stations in America, 600 of which broadcast in a language other than English, and the car companies want them dead. As it stands, 78 million Americans a month listen to AM radio, down from 107 million in 2016. Nevertheless, the medium is dying as new vehicles have serious difficulties dealing with the sophisticated technology within — electric cars, computers in the console, et cetera — which is interfering with a crispy reception of AM radio signal. The auto industry claims it’s going to cost them $3.8 billion for shielding cables and components over the next seven years, which, sure, and the Numlock Corporation is going to incur eleventy gazillion dollars in costs as well. The government has some skin in the game here, as AM radio remains the manner in which the feds plan to inform us that the nukes are going to hit.
Ms. Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
Chinese officials want students to be exceptional at jumping rope, as many provinces add such skipping tests to their high school entrance exam, the zhongkao. Though many parents will try to make sure their kids have a shot at succeeding at the test, some companies try to shake down parents and charge way more than the 20 yuan ($3) for the kind of jumping rope that gets kids past the test.
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