• Business

    The stock market would love a Democratic sweep in November

    Thus, the stock market is loving a potential Democratic sweep because Democrats will borrow more than Trump has. Prudent investors may be troubled. How would the borrowed money be paid back?

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  • Lifestyle
    In The Know

    Dentist reveals mind-blowingly simple oral hygiene tricks: ‘I am failing adulthood’

    Dentist David Cohen’s Instagram is dedicated to making your smile healthier. The Los Angeleno provides useful oral hygiene tips and hacks. “All the toothpaste companies are going to hate me,” Cohen wrote in a caption.

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  • Science
    The Conversation

    The COVID-19 virus can spread through the air – here's what it'll take to detect the airborne particles

    A growing body of research shows that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread from person to person through the air. Indoor spaces with poor ventilation in areas where the virus is prevalent are particularly hazardous.In the fictional world of “Star Trek,” public health officials and first responders would be able to determine instantly if a space had a dangerous concentration of airborne virus, and any other pathogen, by simply waving around a tricorder. That technology, imagined 60 years ago, is still firmly in the realm of fiction. However, devices that can rapidly detect particular airborne pathogens – including SARS-CoV-2 – are in the works in various research laboratories. The air we breatheDetection of the presence of airborne virus particles is complicated by the mixture of other particles in the air. The atmosphere includes a large number of floating particles, a significant fraction of which are biological. Typically, with each breath, you inhale about a thousand biological particles.These bioaerosols include live and dead organisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, pollen and plant and animal debris. Viruses are the smallest of these particles. They range in size from 10 to 300 nanometers, or millionths of a millimeter. In contrast, red blood cells average about 6 to 8 microns, or 6,000 to 8,000 nanometers, in diameter. Bacteria range from 1 to 4 microns and fungi 5 to 10 microns. Plant and animal debris is generally larger than 10 microns.Most of these biological particles are not a health concern, because most are bits of plants and animals, including humans. However, it only takes a small number of dangerous microbes to produce a pandemic. IDing bad news microbesTo understand the potential threat from bioaerosols, it’s important to identify the small fraction of problematic or pathogenic microbes from among all the bioaerosols present. Bioaerosol identification begins with capturing biological particles from the air, typically by collecting particles on a filter, in a liquid vial or on hydrogels. Often, researchers transfer the collected bioaerosols to a culture medium that is designed to support microbe growth. How the microbes respond to a specific culture medium – the size, shape, color and growth rate of the microbe colony – can indicate the microbe species. This process can take several days to weeks, and is often ineffective. It turns out the scientists can only identify about 1% of airborne microbes with this approach.Increasingly, scientists are relying on gene-based analyses to map viruses and other microorganisms collected in air samples. One popular technique for gene-based analysis is polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which uses an enzymatic reaction to make many copies of a specific gene or portion of a gene so that the genetic sequence – DNA or RNA – can be detected in a sample. A PCR test can be designed to spot gene sequences specific to a microorganism so that detecting the sequence equals identifying the microorganism. This technique is currently the gold-standard for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 from nasal swab samples. PCR-based methods are very accurate in identifying pathogens.Next generation sequencing technology makes it possible to rapidly sequence organisms’ whole genomes. Using these techniques, researchers now have the ability to understand the entire population of microorganisms — their diversity and abundance — in the air. Rapid detectionDespite these advances, there is still a lot of work to be done to be able to instantaneously identify the presence of pathogens in air. Current techniques for identifying microbes are expensive, require specialized equipment and involve long processing steps. They also can’t detect a species from small amounts of genetic material.Recent advances, however, provide some promise for the development of sensors that can provide quick information about bioaerosols. One approach uses laser induced florescence. In this technique, particles are illuminated with light of a particular color or wavelength, and only biological particles respond by fluorescing, or emitting light. This technique can be used to identify and quantify the presence of biological particles in air in real-time but it doesn’t differentiate between a safe and a harmful microbe. Another advance is using mass spectrometry for bioaerosol detection. In this technique, a single bioaerosol particle is blasted apart with a laser and the molecular fragments are immediately analyzed to determine the molecular composition of the particles. Researchers are also using Raman spectroscopy-based sensors. Raman spectroscopy can identify molecular composition from light reflected off of samples without destroying the samples. Big challenge in a small packageThese techniques are advancing instant detection and identification of airborne bacteria and fungi, but they are less efficient in detecting viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. This is primarily because viruses are very small, which makes it difficult to collect them with air samplers and difficult to perform PCR analysis given the small amount of DNA/RNA. Researchers are working to address the limitations of detecting airborne viruses. In our lab at Clarkson University, we have developed a low-cost bioaerosol sensor and collector for wide-scale bioaerosol sampling. This battery-operated sampler uses a micro-sized high-voltage source to ionize airborne viruses, bacteria and fungi and collect them on a surface. Ionization gives the biological particles an electrical charge. Giving the collection surface the opposite charge causes the particles to stick to the surface.Samples from our collector can be analyzed with new portable DNA/RNA sequencers, which allows for near real-time bioaerosol detection with low-cost, hand-held equipment. Where’s my tricorder?These advances could soon make it possible to detect a known pathogen, like SARS-CoV-2, with a portable device. But they’re still far from being a tricorder. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]For one, they require relatively high levels of a pathogen for detection. Being able to identify a virus like SARS-CoV-2 at lower levels that are nonetheless sufficient for disease transmission will require developing sensors with lower detection limits. Additionally, these sensors can only be tailored to detect specific pathogens, not scan for all possible pathogens.Though the equivalent of the tricorder in “Star Trek” isn’t around the corner, the need for such a device has never been greater. Now is an opportune time for the emergence of new sensing techniques piggy-backing on the dramatic advances being made in the fields of electronics, computing and bioinformatics. When the next new pathogen emerges, it would be nice to have a tricorder handy.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Rapid home-based coronavirus tests are coming together in research labs — we’re working on analyzing spit using advanced CRISPR gene editing techniques * Aerosols are a bigger coronavirus threat than WHO guidelines suggest – here’s what you need to knowSuresh Dhaniyala is President, Potsdam Sensors, a startup that is commercializing TracB. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation.Shantanu Sur has received funding from the National Science Foundation Hema Priyamvada Ravindran does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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  • Politics
    The Wrap

    Fox News’ Chris Wallace Counters GOP Messaging on Kamala Harris: ‘She’s Not Far to the Left’

    Fox News’ Chris Wallace slowed the roll of the oppositional narrative around Sen. Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick, arguing that she isn’t actually as far left as people say.On “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday, Wallace said of Harris, who ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination, “She didn’t run a great campaign but she is not far to the left, despite what Republicans are going to try to say.”The longtime newsman was right about Republican reaction to Harris’ renewed presence in the 2020 election: President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign released an ad after Biden’s Tuesday selection of Harris that accused her of embracing “the radical left” during her presidential run and being a “phony.”Also Read: 'Morning Joe' Hosts Knock Trump for Contributing 'Not Once, but Twice' to Previous Kamala Harris Campaigns (Video)Wallace wasn’t the only television host to counter the argument Wednesday, either. “Morning Joe” Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough laughed at Trump’s ad and asked, “That’s all they’ve got?”Wallace took his assessment further on Fox News, telling Sandra Smith, “I think she is a reasonably safe choice. She was the obvious front-runner. She was the obvious choice. She adds some excitement to the ticket. She’s a statement to African-Americans and especially to African-American women — who are the real, solid core of the Democratic party — that the party does not take them for granted and so I think she is a pretty safe choice.”Read original story Fox News’ Chris Wallace Counters GOP Messaging on Kamala Harris: ‘She’s Not Far to the Left’ At TheWrap

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  • Business
    Associated Press

    Home prices climb to record in pandemic as buyers seek space

    A renter most of his adult life, Clarence Swann became fearful that landlords would use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to gouge their tenants. Swann is one of tens of thousands of buyers who dove into the housing market this spring and summer even as the coronavirus upended the U.S. economy. The presence of these buyers, plus a sharp drop in the numbers of homes on the market, drove home prices to record highs in most parts of the United States, according to an analysis of housing price data by The Associated Press and Core Logic.

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  • Entertainment
    USA TODAY Entertainment

    Andrew Lloyd Webber gets experimental COVID-19 vaccine: 'I’ll do anything' for theater

    'I’ll do anything to get theatres large and small open again,' composer Andrew Lloyd Webber said as he received an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

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