DAILY DOSE: India approves new funding agency in boost to investment in research; China develops nearly infinite-fire laser gun.


India’s Parliament approved the Anusandhan National Research Foundation, a new research funding agency targeting a $6 billion investment in research over five years. “Anusandhan” translates to “innovation” in Hindi. India’s science and technology minister, Jitendra Singh, believes the foundation will historically impact India’s scientific progress, benefiting every citizen.

Despite the enthusiasm, some experts express reservations. A vision from a 2019 report by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advisory council suggested an agency independent of government influence, similar to the U.S. National Science Foundation. However, the approved agency’s structure grants significant roles to the prime minister and government officials, with the power to choose the agency’s oversight board. Critics express concerns over potential political interference, especially as the funding model relies on the industry contributing approximately 70% of the foundation’s budget.

Shailja Vaidya Gupta, a former senior science adviser, feels that a more innovative approach could have made the foundation revolutionary. The commencement date for the foundation’s operations remains undetermined. (Science)


Chinese military scientists claim a significant advancement in laser weapon technology with the development of a cooling system allowing high-energy lasers to operate continuously without heat buildup. The breakthrough, revealed by researchers at the National University of Defence Technology in Hunan province, overcomes a major challenge in laser weaponry. With this cooling system, lasers can function indefinitely without any performance degradation. The system uses sophisticated structures and an optimized gas flow, improving mirror cleanliness while minimizing turbulence and vibration.

Historically, high-energy laser weapon projects in the U.S. were canceled due to their substantial size and weight. Chinese scientists believe the real cancellation reason was the lasers’ limited destructive capacity, which requires longer operation times to enhance. These lasers function by generating beams through stimulated emission, requiring precision in beam control. However, the beam’s passage through air can introduce turbulence, causing scattering and distortion.

Yuan’s team designed an internal beam path conditioner to eliminate waste heat and maintain gas purity. This technology has been employed in several developing laser weapons. China’s ongoing research aims at harnessing these lasers against targets like drones, missiles, aircraft, and even satellites, offering speed-of-light engagement and potentially reduced costs compared to missile systems. (Channel News Asia)

Stand with science in our “Science NOT Silence” tee! This isn’t just fashion, it’s a bold statement for facts and progress. Comfortable, perfect for science lovers. Make noise for science!🌍🔬


On the 78th anniversary of the Hiroshima A-bombing, people gathered at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, releasing thousands of paper lanterns in memory of the victims. Hiroshima, known as the “City of Water” due to the six rivers flowing through it, carries a poignant significance in the aftermath of the bombing. Victims, horribly wounded, desperately sought water for relief. Toshie Une, a 26-year-old teacher who survived the blast, encountered many of these victims. Warned that Hiroshima’s water had been poisoned, she couldn’t quench their thirst. Years later, upon discovering a pure water source, Une initiated ‘kensui’, the act of offering water at memorial sites as solace for the souls lost. This tradition continued for over 50 years, with a group named Kensui no Taki Monogatari now upholding her legacy. Additionally, Ryuji Nishikawa, inspired by Hiroshima’s rivers, guides visitors on SUP tours and organizes a river festival, aiming to reconnect Hiroshima’s identity with its waterways. When Nishikawa learned about the kensui tradition, he recognized the deep-rooted respect for nature and the importance of preserving it. The anniversary concluded with water offerings, honoring Une’s legacy and symbolizing the universal wish for peace. (Japan Today)


Young environmental activists achieved a landmark legal win in Montana, as a judge ruled that state agencies violated their constitutional right to a clean environment by permitting fossil fuel development. This ruling is the first of its kind in the U.S., possibly setting a pivotal legal precedent. District Court Judge Kathy Seeley stated that Montana’s policy of evaluating fossil fuel permits without considering greenhouse gas emissions is unconstitutional. This decision marks the first instance a U.S. court has ruled against a government based on climate change-related constitutional rights, noted Harvard Law School Professor Richard Lazarus. Seeley refuted Montana’s claim of its emissions being negligible, emphasizing the state’s significant contribution to climate change. However, the responsibility to align state policies with this decision rests with Montana’s Legislature, dominated by Republicans and typically pro-fossil fuel. Critics argue the ruling provides only symbolic value, while supporters see it as a historic moment. (Associated Press)


Maui recently faced devastating wildfires that claimed 96 lives and caused over $5.52 billion in damages. While many associate Hawaii with lush greenery, each island has a drier region, making them prone to fires. Climatologist Abby Frazier notes an alarming rise in wildfires in Hawaii. The main ingredients for these fires are fuel, dryness, and an ignition source. As the Hawaiian economy transitioned from agriculture to tourism, grassy areas grew, becoming potent fuel. Droughts have become more prolonged and severe, exacerbated by rising temperatures due to climate change. Complex Pacific weather patterns, including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, influence Hawaii’s rainfall. A recent La Niña phase led to substantial grass growth, succeeded by a drier El Niño phase. The ignition sources for the recent fires remain unidentified, but Hurricane Dora’s winds intensified them. To prevent future fires, there are calls to replace flammable grasses with native plants and revitalize traditional agriculture. Better data collection and integration with NOAA could also enhance hazard risk understanding. (Nature)


Maui has been severely impacted by wildfires, resulting in the deaths of over 50 people and causing significant destruction in the western region, including the coastal town of Lahaina. This town, popular among tourists, has seen 271 buildings destroyed, and a notable 150-year-old banyan tree severely damaged. Observers are divided over the tree’s future; while some see hope, others, like James B. Friday from the University of Hawaii, believe the tree may not recover. This banyan tree, rooted in front of the Lahaina Courthouse and Harbor, represents an essential part of Lahaina’s history, having been planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the town’s first Protestant mission. Banyan trees have a unique growth pattern, with some in India even spanning several acres. The Lahaina tree, the largest in the U.S., has been a central part of the community for 150 years. Its potential loss deeply concerns the already grief-stricken locals. (Smithsonian)


Several U.S. states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, and others, have declared themselves refuges for transgender individuals, offering gender-affirming health care without fear of prosecution. This comes as bans on such care for minors are being implemented in various states, causing a surge in demand for these refuge states. Clinics in these states are struggling with capacity, with waiting lists growing. Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, of Children’s Minnesota hospital, mentioned the challenges of meeting the overwhelming demand, with wait times for some treatments extending to a year or more. Over 89,000 transgender adolescents in restrictive states may be affected by these bans, though not all seek or can afford gender-affirming care. For Rhys Perez, a 17-year-old moving from Texas to California, the promise of gender-affirming care was a significant factor in choosing a college, but they have found long waiting lists for treatment. Initial sanctuary laws, which were quickly implemented as emergency measures to protect transgender individuals from prosecution in states with health care restrictions, did not provide for the augmentation of health systems, a gap that advocates are now pushing to address. This scramble for gender-affirming care has parallels with abortion access, with both requiring continuous, unhindered access for affected individuals. (Associated Press)

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

WORDS: The Biology Guy.

IMAGE CREDIT: Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (India)


Success! You're on the list.

Large-scale proteomics in population-based studies from UK and Iceland.
In an article revealed today in Nature, scientists  from deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary …
These robots helped understand how insects evolved two distinct strategies of flight.
Robots built by engineers at the University of California San Diego helped …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: