The first Nintendo Direct of 2022 is happening today. It's a 40-minute live stream featuring tons of information on Nintendo's upcoming game launches in the first half of the year. Clayton is hoping for a new Kid Icarus announcement.
In Case You Missed It.
✈️ Frontier and Spirit Airlines are merging in a $6.6 billion deal. People are split on whether this will mean an increase or decrease in cheaper flights in the U.S.
🚨 The Department of Justice announced the arrest of two Bitcoin thieves who stole more than 4.5 billion dollars worth of digital assets. The feds have been working on this since 2016 when Bitfinex was hacked and billions of Bitcoin were stolen. Feds have now recovered almost all of it.
🗺 The U.S. Supreme Court okayed a congressional map drawn by Republicans in Alabama, even though a lower court ruled it likely disenfranchised Black voters.
🎾 Embattled Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai met with Olympic officials and sat down with French sports news site L'Equipe Sunday. The athlete, who tweeted that she was assaulted by a Chinese official before disappearing last year, says she's totally fine and nothing happened.
🇮🇳 High schools in India will be closed for the short term, the government's response to escalating protests against a ban on hijabs in the schools.
Canada has a real crisis on its hands and we've been hearing from our Canadian readers that the media is largely ignoring the Freedom Convoy. Well we will be covering all angles of the story on today's live show at 9AM. All that and so much more. Join us at 9AM Eastern right here.
A Covid human challenge feels like a fitting description of our lives for the last 2+ years. But it's ALSO what it's called when scientists give people Covid on purpose to see what happens.
The UK study consisted of deliberate infection with a low dose of Covid equal to the amount of virus in a single drop of snot.
The 34 participants, ages 18-30, earned £4,565 (US$6,200) for their troubles, but they had to spend at least two weeks of quarantine in extreme isolation. Plus, Covid.
Almost half of the participants who were infected did not catch Covid. Some of the infected caught it but didn't show symptoms, and some developed mild symptoms that included loss of taste or smell. (Loss of those senses isn't exactly mild, in my opinion, but it's all relative.)
Bottom line: no one died! It seems like that's the biggest news to come out of this study. Proof that human-challenge trials can be done with nasty 'Rona.
Of course, some participants who lost their taste/smell didn't get their senses back for more than six months. And there are some researchers who think the risks outweigh the rewards for this kind of study.
But others want to know why so many didn't become infected even when they were directly exposed, and they think more of these trials might help with the answer. That could lead to another weapon in our ongoing Covid battles, but I'm not signing up any time soon.
No Stocks For You
U.S. Congresspeople could be persona non grata on Wall Street soon.
Several bipartisan bills making their way through Congress would tighten restrictions on lawmakers who trade individual stocks. While it's true that the bipartisan STOCK Act currently requires reporting from lawmakers and their spouses when buying or selling stocks, some think it doesn't go far enough. (Especially when many members of Congress file those reports late or not at all with minimal consequences.)
The upcoming bills include bans against trading individual stocks for lawmakers and federal judges. Plus family members.
Insider trading is a federal crime, and no one is saying Congress members have done anything like this, but it looks bad when it just so happens that one (or five) (or more) of them buys stock from companies that sell PPE before the first Covid cases hit the U.S. Seriously bad.
Even if Congress is totally on the up-and-up, the U.S. is going through a serious crisis of faith about the government right now. Legislation like this could help to calm the waters, however slightly.
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Over ten years ago, two patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia were given CAR-T cell therapy. Today? Neither patient has any trace of cancer in their body.
CAR-T cells, or chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells, begin life as immune cells from the patient's body. The cells are sent away to be powered-up with a virus, coming back with the ability to recognize and attack cancer cells. They're then put back into the patient's body, where they stay and evolve to keep fighting.
So the patient's cells go to training camp, come back with superpowers, and put the cancer DOWN!
The results led one of the study's authors, Dr. Carl June, to actually say: "We can now conclude that CAR-T cells can actually cure patients with leukemia."
"We did not think that this would be a curative therapy at all back in 2010," June said. "But the reason now I think we can say this is a cure… is, I mean, these are the most mature, the oldest results available reported in the scientific literature, since they were the first treated. So at this point, 10 years on, we can't find any leukemia cells, and again, we still have the CAR-T cells that are on patrol and on surveillance for residual leukemia."
Tens of thousands of patients are currently getting into the CAR-T, playing host to super versions of their own T cells. The treatment has been approved for certain blood cancers around the world, including by the U.S. FDA. And scientists are hopeful these cells will be battle-ready to go up against more cancers in the near future.
Researchers from the Ozouga Chimpanzee Project observed for the first time chimpanzees give themselves and each other insect meds. Doctoral student Lara Southern sets the scene for us:
"An adult male, Littlegrey, had a deep open wound on his shin, and Carol, an adult female, who had been grooming him, suddenly reached out to catch an insect," Southern said in a statement. "What struck me most was that she handed it to Littlegrey, he applied it to his wound and subsequently Carol and two other adult chimpanzees also touched the wound and moved the insect on it. The three unrelated chimpanzees seemed to perform these behaviors solely for the benefit of their group member."
The fact that the chimps appeared to be tending others could be proof that chimps exhibit prosocial behavior (helping others), if not empathy. This is a hotly debated subject in the animal behavior world.
Also–tell us more about these bugs, chimp friends! Researchers are hoping they can identify the insects and investigate whether they actually have healing properties (vs. a placebo). Don't be surprised if insects are the herbal tea of the 2030s.
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