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An unassuming herb found on the western coast of North America known as Triantha occidentalis, or western false asphodel, has now joined the ranks of carnivorous plants.
Scientists affixed fruit flies to the sticky stems of T. occidentalis growing in a bog near Vancouver, and found that the plants absorbed significant amounts of nutrients from the insect prey. This common herb is one of only two carnivorous plants to be identified in the past two decades, and its newfound status suggests that other unrecognized meat-eaters may also be growing near major cities, the team reported on August 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The plant’s been known for a long time, but it’s never been understood that it’s a carnivore,” says Sean Graham, a botanist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and coauthor of the new findings. “My suspicion is that there might be other carnivorous plants out there like this that we don’t know about.”
Carnivorous plants are generally found in sunny, wet habitats with low levels of nutrients in the soil, where their abilities to suck minerals such as nitrogen and phosphorus from hapless animals gives them an edge.
Western false asphodel inhabits wetlands and stream banks along the Pacific coast of North America, from California to Alaska. It belongs to a family with no previous evidence of carnivory, but often grows near known carnivorous plants such as sundews and butterworts.
The flowering stems of T. occidentalis can grow to about two-and-a-half feet tall during summertime, and are lined with reddish hairs covered in shiny secretions. Scientists have often observed small insects trapped among these sticky hairs.
[Related: Venus flytraps know not to eat the insects that pollinate them]
However, sticky hairs are a common feature in the plant world, and are typically a defense against insect pests, Graham says. Another likely reason why T. occidentalis escaped notice until now: Its traps aren’t as striking and elaborate as those boasted by other carnivorous plants such as Venus flytraps.
The first sign that the species might have a carnivorous lifestyle came when a colleague of Graham’s noticed that T. occidentalis is missing a gene involved in photosynthesis that’s also absent in a number of carnivorous plants.
“That’s what made us suspicious,” Graham says. “They’re already trapping insects, so it’s probably not that hard to take the next step and actually start consuming the insect.”
He and his team decided to investigate whether T. occidentalis does indeed draw sustenance from its victims. Graham’s colleague Qianshi Lin, then a PhD student in botany at the University of British Columbia and now on the faculty at the University of Toronto, fed captive fruit flies a rare form, or isotope, of nitrogen known as nitrogen-15. The researchers then stuck the flies to the leaves or stems of several different species growing in a bog in British Columbia’s Cypress Provincial Park. These included T. occidentalis, a carnivorous sundew, and a non-carnivorous plant from the daisy family known as wandering fleabane. After several weeks, Lin returned to measure how much of the distinctive nitrogen isotope had accumulated in each plant.
“The key thing here is to prove that the nutrients have come from the dead animals and been incorporated into the plant’s body,” Graham says.
Unsurprisingly, the presence of fruit flies seemed to have no effect on the amount of nitrogen-15 in the fleabane. However, the proportion of nitrogen-15 in both the sundew and T. occidentalis increased substantially after the plants had been presented with flies. The researchers estimated that 64 percent of the nitrogen in the herb’s leaves originates from insect meals, comparable to levels seen in other carnivores.
Additionally, the researchers observed, the sticky hairs on the stalks of T. occidentalis secrete a digestive enzyme called phosphatase that’s also found in other carnivorous plants.
The findings suggest that T. occidentalis uses its glistening hairs to lure and ensnare insect snacks. Bizarrely, however, these hairs are located very near T. occidentalis’s flowers.
“That’s really weird, and it’s pretty much unheard of to have the trap close to the flower,” Graham says.
Most carnivorous species keep a healthy distance between their meat-eating bits and the parts of the plant that must be pollinated by insects. However, Graham says that T. occidentalis probably isn’t putting its own pollinators at risk. The hairs only trap very small flies and beetles, rather than the larger, stronger bees and butterflies responsible for pollinating the plant.
Still, Graham says, many questions remain about T. occidentalis. He and his team are sequencing the plant’s genome to search for features related to carnivory. Other important steps will be investigating whether the closest relatives of western false asphodel might also be carnivorous, which insects are most vulnerable to being captured in the sticky hairs, and what other digestive enzymes the plant produces.
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Launched in 2023, Footprint is a blockchain analytics platform on course to become the go-to source of definitive on-chain data.
Built around unmatched on-chain data and do-it-yourself, intuitive visualization tools, the platform aims to become an indispensable tool for any media outlet, an analytics company, or investment firm analyzing and reporting information from the blockchain.
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Bloomberg is the world’s largest financial services provider and its black terminals are a ubiquitous presence in any firm or bank that needs accurate information about the market. It also makes some of its revenue from its news businesses.
We recognize an enormous opportunity for financial calculations, trading, monitoring, and investment comparison and execution analysis within the DeFi industry which we aim to capture, just as pioneers in the traditional finance industry like Bloomberg and Reuters Group did with their professional services.
There were 76 million digital currency investors globally as of September 2023, a 40% yearly increase.
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The cost of understanding on-chain data
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Analyze the project’s market share within categories and understand my position in the industry
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These young billionaires, including a couple very well-to-do teenagers, got rich quick.
The average billionaire is 65 years old, according to Forbes’ latest ranking of the planet’s richest people, and the eldest is insurance tycoon George Joseph, who’s 101. But old age is not a requirement for amassing great wealth. In fact, there are 15 people around the globe who boast a three-comma fortune despite being 30 years old or younger.
The richest 30-and-under—by far—is Red Bull heir Mark Mateschitz, whose father Dietrich died in October 2023. With an estimated $34.7 billion fortune, he’s worth nearly ten times more than the next-richest young billionaires, Clemente Del Vecchio and his two siblings. Mateschitz is the richest of all 150 newcomers to the 2023 billionaires list.
Overall, 11 of these 15 inherited their fortunes. Just four are self-made entrepreneurs. That includes Ben Francis, who founded activewear maker Gymshark in 2012, when he was 19, and Palmer Luckey, who sold his first startup to Facebook and is back with a successful defense tech business. Both are new members of the billionaire ranks.
There were 15 total 30-and-unders last year, too—but the names have changed considerably thanks to nine newcomers and eight people who dropped out of the billionaire ranks completely, including Brex cofounders Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, and DoorDash cofounders Stanley Tang and Andy Fang. They still have plenty of time to make a return—something that will be much more difficult for FTX cofounder Gary Wang, 29, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in December.
As a group, these 15 youngsters are worth $64 billion in total, $10 billion more than in 2023, largely thanks to Mateschitz’s massive inheritance. Still, accumulating so much money so young remains a rare feat: Together, this exclusive group represents just 0.6% of the world’s 2,640 billionaires.Here are the 15 members of the World’s Billionaires list who are 30 and under, ranked from oldest to youngest: (NET WORTHS ARE AS OF MARCH 10, 2023) Ben Francis
Francis was juggling college classes and delivering pizzas when he founded activewear maker Gymshark in 2012, at age 19. He sewed the first pieces together in his parents’ Birmingham, U.K. garage and guerilla-marketed his way into the workout gear scene, getting weightlifting influencers to pump up his brand. Gymshark did more than $500 million in 2023 sales. Francis sold 21% of the business to private equity firm General Atlantic in 2023 for $300 million but still owns 70%. The unicorn’s most recent move? A brick-and-mortar store: Gymshark London opened in 2023 and offers workout classes and the brand’s trademark apparel.Palmer Luckey Mark Mateschitz
He inherited 49% of energy drink giant Red Bull after his father, cofounder Dietrich Mateschitz, died in October. Soon after, he resigned from his role as its head of organics to “concentrate on his role as shareholder.”Michal Strnad
His Czechoslovak Group is one of the biggest suppliers of ammunition, ground equipment and artillery equipment to the Ukrainian army, which has helped double sales to $620 million in the first half of 2023. He took full control of the business, founded by his father, in 2023.Gustav Magnar Witzoe
He owns nearly half of salmon farming company SalMar ASA, inherited from his father Gustav Witzoe, but does not have an operating role. Instead, he’s casting his line as a real estate and tech startup investor.Ryan Breslow
The Stanford dropout founded three startups, four years apart: Bolt, which rocketed him to fame, Eco and Love, his 2023 venture. They aim to remove middlemen in payments processing, personal finance and pharmaceuticals, respectively. A fourth, nascent crypto project Movement DAO, was set to launch this year but instead led to a legal battle against a rogue engineer who allegedly stole two-thirds of its seed funding. The engineer’s attorney dismissed the allegations as “frivolous.”Leonardo Maria Del Vecchio Katharina Andresen
Along with her younger sister Alexandra, Katharina is a sixth-generation owner of Ferd, the more than $4 billion (equity) investment company their father, Johan, runs. Katharina is a sustainability officer at an Oslo-based construction firm.Wang Zelong
Wang’s fortune comes from a stake in Shenzhen-listed traded company CNNC Hua Yuan Titanium Dioxide—a chemical used to create white pigment for things like paint and paper.Alexandra Andresen
Alexandra and sister Katharina own a 42% stake each in investment firm Ferd. Instead of holding the reins at Ferd, she holds actual reins: Alexandra is a three-time junior Norwegian champion in dressage riding and helms a horse breeding and training facility.Luca Del Vecchio
One of two children between Leonardo Del Vecchio and Sabrina Grossi, a former Luxottica board member and the company’s former head of investor relations, Luca is not known to have a role at the eyewear company.Kim Jung-min
Along with her younger sister, Kim Jung-youn, Jung-min inherited around a third of their family’s assets—including a 15% stake each in game maker Nexon—after their father Kim Jung-ju died in February 2023. Jung-ju founded Nexon, known for its massively multiplayer online games Kingdom of the Winds and MapleStory, in 1994. Forbes does not know her precise age.Kevin David Lehmann
He inherited 50% of German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt from his father at age 14. It remained under a trusteeship until his 18th birthday, when he became a billionaire. Neither Lehmann nor his father is operationally involved in the $14 billion (revenue) company.Kim Jung-min
One of two teenage billionaires on this year’s rankings, Kim Jung-youn inherited a stake in her late father’s holding company, which in turn holds approximately half of online gaming giant Nexon. Both Kim sisters keep a low profile and are not known to have an active role in the company. Forbes does not know her precise age.Clemente Del Vecchio
The world got a new teenage billionaire when Leonardo Del Vecchio died in June 2023. Clemente, the youngest Del Vecchio heir, is not known to have a role at Luxottica, which owns Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban and Oakley, among others.
This article was first published on chúng tôi and all figures are in USD.
This week, Iran claimed it finally succeeded in its long-fought effort to launch a monkey into space. The poor creature did not appear to enjoy the preparations, according to the pained, slightly constipated expression in photographs of him in his safety seat. That got us thinking about the many other animals to have ventured into space before him. A veritable zoo of creatures, from dogs and cats to apes and amoebas, has visited space on our behalf.
Many of them were lost or sacrificed in the name of research, but several had happy endings, returning safely to Earth and living out their days in zoos. Without their sacrifice and the biomedical research it enabled, humans may have been in greater danger when we first tried to visit space. Check out our gallery to see some of the greatest spacefaring creatures.
Baker the Squirrel Monkey
This guy was one of the first two monkeys to survive spaceflight. He lifted off on a Jupiter rocket May 28, 1959, with a rhesus macaque named Able. The monkeys rode in the missile’s nose cone to 360 miles above the Earth, well beyond the eventual orbits of the space shuttle and station. The animals were in microgravity for about 9 minutes, and their spacecraft reached a top speed of 10,000 mph, according to NASA’s History Office. Both survived, but Able died four days later while undergoing surgery to remove a sensor. Incredibly, Baker lived another 25 years until he died Nov. 29, 1984, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Belka and Strelka
The best-known Soviet spacedog is Laika, a stray who died during her journey as the first orbital canine. But the USSR sent several dogs to space, and most of the cosmodogs survived. Belka and Strelka flew on Sputnik 5 on Aug. 19, 1960 and were the first Earth-born creatures to enter orbit and return alive. From NASA’s History Office: They flew with a grey rabbit, 42 mice, 2 rats and 15 flasks full of fruit flies and plants. All passengers survived. The cartoon shows both famous dogs, and the taxidermied animal at the bottom is Strelka, on a tour in Australia in 1993.
Felix the Cat
Dogs are more obedient, although NASA’s history office does report that several would-be cosmodogs ran away before their flights. It’s harder to herd cats, but the French tried it anyway. On October 18, 1963, French scientists launched the first cat into space on a Veronique AGI sounding rocket. The cat, named Felix, was retrieved after descending to Earth under parachute. “A second feline flight on October 24 ran into difficulties that prevented recovery,” NASA says. The weird chip shown on the cat’s head is a cranial electrode implant, which transmitted neurological data back to Earth during its trip. The stamp commemorates Felix’s journey. At the bottom, the cats in boxes are actually wearing “space suits,” although NASA never launched any felines into space.
Ham The Astro Chimp
The first ape in space, Ham (an acronym for Holloman Aero Med) flew on a Mercury Redstone rocket a lot like Alan B. Shepard’s. This Thursday marks the 52nd anniversary of his Jan. 31, 1961 flight. Just four years old at the time, Ham performed well on his suborbital journey, reaching an altitude of 157 miles and a top speed of 5,857 mph. In this photo, Ham is seen shaking hands with the commander of his recovery ship, USS Donner (LSD-20). Ham’s mission paved the way for the successful launch of Shepard, America’s first human astronaut, on May 5, 1961. Ham was placed on display at the Washington Zoo in 1963, where he lived alone until September 25, 1980, when he moved to a zoo in North Carolina. He died three years later.
Also known as water bears or moss piglets, these jolly-looking creatures have been found to survive on the outside of spacecraft in the vacuum of space. They can survive in temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water. Cosmic radiation, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and extreme dehydration neither killed them nor prevented them from procreating, as a 2008 experiment showed.
Fifteen years ago, China decided to build homegrown processors for PCs, servers, and supercomputers. Now the country’s latest chip is powering the world’s fastest computer.
The supercomputer is a big statement that China doesn’t have to rely on U.S. technology for its IT needs. China used Intel’s chips to build the world’s second fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, which until recently held the top spot on the Top500 list.
The U.S. in April last year banned the export of some Intel Xeon chips to China for use in supercomputers, with the government concerned the chips would be used in activities against U.S. interests. The Tianhe-2 and Tianhe-1A were allegedly used in nuclear weapon tests, which partly spurred the export ban.
The embargo on the Xeon chips did not affect the building of the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer. China already had set its sights on building the first supercomputer that could deliver a performance of more than 100 petaflops, Top500 wrote.
But the embargo did strengthen the resolve and precipitated efforts of China to build its own homegrown chips.
For the Chinese, the development of indigenous IT equipment, especially for high-performance computing, is a matter of priority and national pride, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.
Developing a high-tech chip gives China bragging rights to stand up against countries and top chip-makers like Intel. It’s also a matter of cost, Brookwood said.
The home-grown Chinese chip also gives the country some weight and bargaining power against top chip makers Intel, IBM, and Qualcomm, who are trying to push their own chips to server makers in China.
A supercomputer with a homegrown Chinese chip, the Sunway BlueLight MPP, running an early version of the ShenWei processor, entered the Top500 list in November 2011 at number 14. It was the first Chinese supercomputer with a homegrown chip to enter the Top500 list and was ranked at 119 on the list released on Monday.
China, the U.S., Japan, and European countries are in a constant race to build the world’s fastest computer. China had 167 supercomputers on the Top500 list, beating the U.S., which had 165.
The Sunway TaihuLight has the ShenWei SW26010 processor, a monster 260-core chip. Each chip delivers a performance of 3 teraflops, which Top500 rated as being on par with Intel’s latest Xeon Phi chip code-named Knights Landing. That chip is rated as one of the company’s fastest.
With Sunway TaihuLight, China is also the first country to make a supercomputer that passes 100 petaflops in performance. Countries are in a race to make a computer that can deliver a performance of an exaflop, or a million trillion calculations per second, which is expected to be reached sometime after 2023.
There’s still is some mystery to China’s latest homegrown chip. It is a 64-bit RISC processor, which Top500 speculates is based on the DEC Alpha architecture. The supercomputer has 1.3 petabytes of the older DDR3 memory, and uses 15.3 megawatts of power, making it more power-efficient than the number two supercomputer Tianhe-2, which uses 17.8 megawatts. It also has a homegrown interconnect, though its based on PCI-Express 3.0
China over years has developed a chip called Godson, which has been used in PCs, though progress has seemingly stalled.
The Internet connection we all rely on is about to change, now that WISP is coming to town.
Most people get Internet service from either a telephone company or a cable company because those providers already provide physical connections to their homes and businesses. A WISP (wireless Internet service provider) doesn’t need to bring wire to your location, making it a good solution for serving rural areas where telcos and cable companies couldn’t be bothered to invest. WISP was unable to match the speed and reliability of DSL and cable modems, however, until recently. As wireless technology has evolved, WISPs are beginning to compete in urban areas on speed and price. Here’s how it works.What makes a WISP
Wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) use tower-mounted antennas to transmit and receive radio signals, much as cellular service providers do.
Satellite TV providers that also provide wireless Internet service, such as Dish Network, are closer to being WISPs. They can deliver wireless Internet service to any home that has a clear view of the southern sky. But the data must travel very long distances, which limits the service’s speed, and lag can be a big problem—especially for playing games.
A true WISP is a mix of cellular provider and satellite provider elements. Like a cell provider, it mounts antennas on towers (or atop buildings) to transmit signals, and it installs an antenna—or in some cases, a dish—on the customer’s home or building. Like a satellite service provider, it typically delivers service to a fixed location.Comparing pricing and features
Most WISPs offer tiered service levels, charging higher fees for faster speeds and/or more bandwidth. Like telcos, cable companies, and other ISPs, WISPs typically require you to commit to a one- or two-year contract, and they charge an installation or activation fee.
Most WISPs are regional operators that serve limited areas. Netlinx, for instance, serves residential and business customers in southern Pennsylvania. The company’s prices for residential service range from $30 to $80 per month. At the low end, you get download speeds of up to 1 mbps, with speed bursts of up to 3 mbps. Upload speeds at this tier are 512 kilobits per second. At the high end, you get download speeds of up to 15 mbps (with bursts up to 30 mbps) and upload speeds of 3 mbps.
The WISP will install a smaller antenna on the customer’s home.
Many WISPs provide faster upload speeds than the typical 5 to 10 mbps that most cable and DSL providers offer. That can be useful for businesses with remote offices, offsite PC or server backup requirements, or other applications where upload speeds are just as important as download speeds.
Like other ISPs, some WISPs limit how much data you can use per month, but these limits tend to be more generous than what cell, satellite, and even some cable providers offer. A few, such as Wisper ISP (serving southern Illinois and eastern Missouri), provide uncapped service.
Utah-based Vivint, a newcomer to the WISP market, is offering wireless Internet service at upload and download speeds of 50 mbps for just $55 per month. But the company—best known for its home-security/automation services—has only just begun to roll out its service, which is not widely available outside Utah.Finding a WISP
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