DAILY DOSE: Apple addresses iPhone radiation concerns; IV makers take a stand against lethal injection.


Apple has committed to updating the software on its iPhone 12s in France after concerns arose over radiation levels, leading to a suspension of sales in the country. French tests reportedly found the iPhone 12 exceeded radiation exposure limits, a claim Apple disputes, pointing out the device’s certification by multiple international bodies. However, to address the French testing protocol, Apple will release a software update. This decision comes amidst a broader European concern over the device’s radiation. Belgium and the Netherlands have initiated their reviews, while Germany seeks an EU-wide resolution. Italy is also considering requesting a software upgrade. Apple emphasized that the update pertains to the French testing method, not any safety issue. France’s testing measures the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) at a 0mm distance for limbs, compared to 5mm for body tests in other countries. Apple’s European sales are significant, with estimated revenues of $95 billion and over 50 million iPhones sold in 2020. (Reuters)


Medical equipment manufacturers, including Baxter International Inc., B. Braun Medical Inc., Fresenius Kabi, and Johnson & Johnson, are refusing to sell products for use in lethal injections, a decision that may further complicate states’ ability to execute death sentences, especially as access to execution drugs has been limited. These companies produce essential equipment such as IV catheters, syringes, and medical tubing, which are crucial for administering lethal injections. The companies assert that using their products for executions opposes their core values. For years, pharmaceutical firms have prevented state corrections departments from using their drugs for executions. This has pushed states to find alternative methods or use untested drug combinations. The focus on equipment introduces a new dimension to the lethal injection debate, suggesting a shift in the challenges surrounding execution methods. Due to state laws, it remains uncertain whether corrections departments are using products from the aforementioned companies for executions. (The Intercept)

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Amid the challenges of COVID-19, construction delays, and rising costs, US Antarctic research faces a concerning future. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the cancellation of over half its Antarctic projects for 2023-24, endangering long-standing ecological data sets. These setbacks prompt concerns over the immediate impact on scientific endeavors and the potential decline of US leadership in Antarctic research. While researchers lament poor planning and communication by the NSF and its contractors, the NSF highlights budgetary constraints and unpredictable circumstances. The situation underscores the uncertainty surrounding the future of US Antarctic studies. (Science)


Surgeons at NYU Langone Health made a groundbreaking discovery by implanting a genetically modified pig’s kidney into a brain-dead patient, Maurice “Mo” Miller. This experiment lasted for two months, marking the longest period a pig kidney has functioned inside a human. The procedure aims to address the nation’s organ shortage, with over 100,000 people on the national waiting list. Previous attempts at xenotransplantation were unsuccessful due to the human immune system rejecting foreign animal tissue. This recent experiment utilized pigs whose organs were genetically modified to be more human-like. The FDA posed questions about the performance of pig organs in comparison to human organs, which the experiment sought to address. After 61 days, the pig kidney was removed and looked promising. Although the findings are significant, experts warn that outcomes in deceased patients might differ in living ones. The ultimate goal is to give patients waiting for transplants a second chance at life. (Associated Press)

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Equatic, a UCLA spinout, has pioneered a method to combat climate change by converting oceanic CO2 into seashell-like minerals. The ocean naturally absorbs 31% of human CO2 emissions, but there’s a limit before it releases CO2 back, further leading to ocean acidification. Equatic’s technology extracts CO2, transforming it into a solid material suitable for construction or re-introduction into the ocean. This also produces hydrogen, a sustainable fuel. The process involves running seawater through an electric current, producing calcium carbonate and hydrogen gas. The company, with pilot facilities in LA and Singapore, has secured $30 million in funding. Singapore’s water agency, PUB, plans to amplify this technology. However, to meet global climate goals, significant upscaling is required. While experts stress the need to keep carbon removal costs under $100 per ton, Equatic aims for below $91 by 2028, with aspirations to eliminate millions of tons of CO2 by that year. (Freethink)


MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), an instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, has successfully produced oxygen on Mars for the 16th time, surpassing its initial expectations. Developed by MIT, MOXIE has demonstrated the feasibility of extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, essential for breathable air and rocket propellant for future astronauts. Since the rover’s landing in 2021, MOXIE has generated 122 grams of oxygen in total. Its most efficient rate produced 12 grams per hour at 98% purity, doubling NASA’s original goal. MOXIE operates by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide from Mars’ atmosphere through an electrochemical process. While many of Perseverance’s tasks target scientific objectives, MOXIE aims to pioneer technology for human Mars exploration. Its success represents a significant step towards astronauts using Mars’ resources, rather than relying entirely on brought supplies. The instrument’s achievements have significantly impacted the space resource industry, leading to discussions about future Mars-focused technologies. (NASA)

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

WORDS: The Biology Guy.


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