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for the week ending 4 April 2021

 COVID-19 Antibody Tests, Even Rapid Finger Pricks,
Are Effective, New Study Finds

(Medical Express) — New findings from a Michigan Medicine study reveal that antibody testing is predictive of prior COVID-19 infection, and rapid screening methods – even from finger pricks – are effective testing tools.

Researchers analyzed antibody tests conducted on more than 500 subjects in patient care settings. They found that people who had COVID, including those with mild symptoms, produced antibodies.

"For a long time, people were very worried that people with mild COVID did not make immune responses," says Charles Schuler, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Michigan Medicine. "This should give people confidence that the tests that are available to them aren't just random number generators. They're actually giving them something useful."

The findings also indicate that rapid screens can predict infection with nearly the same precision as antibody tests conducted in a lab. 
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Asteroid Singed Antarctic Ice Sheet
430,000 Years Ago, Particles Suggest


(UPI) — Tiny meteorite particles found in the mountains of Antarctica suggest the Southern Continent's ice sheet was singed by an asteroid touchdown event some 430,000 years ago, according to a new paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The spherules were discovered several years ago by a team of Belgian and British scientists hunting for micrometeorites in sediment deposits on the peaks of the Sør Rondane Mountains of East Antarctica.

"It did not take much time for them to find micrometeorites and very unusual looking particles, which looked like several spherules fused together at very high temperature," Matthias van Ginneken told UPI in an email.

"Knowing that these were not micrometeorites but still most likely extraterrestrial, the idea of them resulting from a large meteoritic event seemed a strong probability," said Ginneken, a planetary scientist and researcher at the University of Kent.
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 Rev. Graham Warns Of Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes':
'Hell Is A Real Place And So Is The Eternal Torment'

(CNS News) — Gay rapper Lil Nas X released his special brand of 666 "Satan Shoes" on Monday along with a music video of himself performing a lap dance on Satan, perverted actions that Rev. Franklin Graham called a "dangerous marketing endeavor" because "Hell is a real place, and so is the eternal torment of those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."

The company MSCHF Product Studio Inc. made the shoes, 666 pairs. The shoes are based on the Nike Air Max 97 shoe and come with liquid in the soles, which reportedly contains the blood of someone from MSCHF. A satanic pentagram is attached to the laces and the Bible citation Luke 10:18 is imprinted on the shoe.

Luke 10:18 reads, "And He said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'" In his video, Lil Nas X falls from an Eden-like garden into the bowels of Hell.

On Monday, Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHEF for alleged trademark infringement.
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VW's U.S. Chief Takes Blame For 'Voltswagen' Hoax

(Marketwatch) — The chief executive of Volkswagen AG's U.S. subsidiary said Thursday he took personal responsibility for an early April Fools' Day prank this week in which the company sent out a news release saying it was changing its U.S. name to "Voltswagen."

"Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it taking hold," said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "If there's any trust or credibility to be rebuilt from me, I'm going to do it."

The German auto maker later admitted that the name change was a joke and a marketing stunt, but that was only after many news organizations reported it as a legitimate development and social media lighted up with commentary about the move.

The gag-gone-wrong started Monday when VW communications in the U.S. published a draft of the release on the company's website and quickly took it down.

The release, initially picked up by several news outlets, said the company would rebrand itself "Voltswagen of America" to promote its electric-car strategy.
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 NY Police Charge 7-Year-Old Boy With Rape

(DISRN) — Authorities in upstate New York have arrested a 7-year-old boy on third-degree rape charges reportedly connected to an incident that occurred over Thanksgiving.

Following the arrest, the boy from the town of Brasher Falls was released and scheduled to be tried in Family Court.

Queens lawyer Anthony Martone, a specialist in juvenile cases, called the arrest "absurd."

"Instinctually, it shouldn't happen that a 7-year-old -- I don't think you even could really realize what you're doing at seven years old," he said. "They'd have to prove he actually physically committed this act, which, to me, it almost seems to be an impossibility."

The law in New York allows authorities to arrest a child as young as seven for "an act that would be a crime if it had been committed by an adult."
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 14-Year-Old Boy Held Without Bail
In Murder Of 8th Grader


(Fox News) — A juvenile suspect in the murder of a Virginia middle school girl was being held without bond following a virtual arraignment before a judge on Monday, according to a report.

The boy, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of eighth-grade student Lucia Bremer in Henrico County on Friday, appeared with a guardian for the arraignment, WRIC-TV reported.

Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor confirmed to the outlet that the boy is 14 years old. The suspect's name was being withheld due to his age.

The boy was taken into custody Saturday, police said. In addition to being charged with second-degree murder, he was also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a juvenile.
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NASA's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity
Touches Down On The Red Planet

(Space.com) — The first helicopter on Mars is officially on Martian soil.

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity touched down on the surface of the Red Planet after being dropped by its mother ship, the Perseverance rover, the space agency announced late Saturday (April 4). The helicopter's first flight is just over a week away.

"#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover's belly to the surface of Mars today," officials with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California wrote in a Twitter announcement. "Next milestone? Survive the night."

Weighing in at just 4 lbs. (1.8 kilograms), Ingenuity is a tiny, solar-powered helicopter that relies on a rechargeable battery to keep its systems warm during the harsh Martian night. Until today, Ingenuity has been attached to Perseverance's belly, feeding off the rover's nuclear-powered system to stay warm.
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NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover
Snaps Scenic Selfie At 'Mont Mercou'

(Space.com) — NASA's Mars rover Curiosity recently posed for a selfie in front of a beautiful Martian rock outcrop called "Mont Mercou," after probing the area for clues about the Red Planet's past.

Curiosity landed inside Mars' 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater in August 2012 with a primary goal to find out if the planet is, or was, suitable for life. Earlier in March, the rover arrived at a scenic rock formation as it traversed the slopes of Mount Sharp – a 3-mile-tall (5 km) mountain located at the center of Gale Crater, which Curiosity has been climbing since September 2014.

This new rock formation – nicknamed Mont Mercou after a mountain in France – stands about 20 feet (6 meters) tall and can be seen to the left of the rover in the new selfie, which NASA released Tuesday (March 30).

Using its Mastcam instrument, the rover snapped 11 images of itself near Mont Mercou on March 16, along with another 60 images on March 26, which were taken using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the rover's robotic arm.
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'Cute' New Spider Species Named 'Nemo'
After Animated Fish


(NY Post) — The Maratus nemo, a newly discovered peacock spider named after the animated clownfish Nemo, is anything but an ordinary arachnid.

Native only to the Australian continent, the Maratus nemo is no bigger than the size of a long grain of rice – which is a shame considering it's one of the most vibrantly colored spider species on Earth.
Nemo Spider
Like the name "peacock" suggests, they're also known for putting on a show in hopes of finding a mate.

In a new paper published in Evolutionary Systematics on Thursday, researcher Joseph Schubert described the newest member of the peacock spider group.
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 These Bears Are Acting Way Too Friendly
Due To Deadly Brain Disease


(NY Post) — This malady is turning bears dog-like – and permanently crippling them.

Following a number of recent incidents with bears in California's Tahoe Basin being reported for acting strangely, seemingly unafraid of humans and eager to do distinctly un-bear-like things, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a blog on the sad reason for the behavior: encephalitis.

"Necropsies on the afflicted bears have confirmed encephalitis but the root cause of the disease remains a mystery," the post states, attributing various bears' bizarre behavior to the brain-inflating condition, which is manifesting from an unknown origin – although, in the process of looking into it, scientists have discovered five novel viruses which may be to blame.

"Complicating matters for wildlife officials, the neurologically dull bears appear friendly to the public. Not fearing people, they may come into contact – and conflict – with humans more often," the post continues.
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