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tv   Tomorrow Today  Deutsche Welle  August 2, 2020 2:02am-2:31am CEST

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breakthroughs in the search for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus we'll look at the main vaccine strategies. plus the challenge facing penguins in antarctica. and bomb disposal. by laserbeak. welcome to tomorrow today your science show on d.w. . on sunday there were more reported new cases of coke at night see for months now the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news coverage one team has spread all over the world and changed our lives but how many people have actually come into contact with the virus and will that be a 2nd wave of infections in those countries where the numbers have gone down for scientists to gauge that properly as many people as possible need to be tested for the virus so what tests are available and how do they work. the standard genetic test involves taking
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a swab from the back of your throat or alternatively from up your nose. the sample is then checked for the presence of viral d.n.a. which would indicate an active infection when the virus is still replicating. the tests are highly accurate and can detect infections early. but the downside is that the samples have to be taken to a specialized lab for analysis meaning it can take up to 2 just to get a result. a much faster option is the antibody test it involves taking a sample of your blood it only takes a few minutes and there's no lab required but this test doesn't actually detect the virus per se instead it checks whether the body's immune system has produced antibodies in response to it but that immune reaction only takes place around 7 days after infection so if you're just in. affected the test won't detect it
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antibody tests aren't suitable for diagnosing active cases but they can be helpful in showing who has already have the virus and may have developed immunity they're especially useful for finding out how widely the virus has spread in a population. finally there is the antigen test this method uses antibodies to check for so-called antigen proteins in a sample these are molecules that kickstart the body's immune response. these tests are fast and simple and can detect new infections but because there need to be a lot of virus proteins to stick to the antibodies the accuracy rate is lower than in the standard diagnostic test. the method is commonly employed to test for influenza and hiv and to jim test of covert 19 was introduced in may 2020.
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more than 600000 people have died of the corona virus so far and more than 15000000 people have been infected worldwide we spoke to thomas come from the german society for immunology and asked him up people who recover from covered 1000 immune to the disease. millions of people have suffered from court 19 and until very recently there were no reports on reemergence of the disease until in a paper was published in the lancet infectious diseases from who on china where. hospital workers followed people that had been 19 were cured have been released from the hospital and were followed up and out of 600 such people coalesce and people are some where positive again on virus test that's not unexpected but 8 of these. were sick again and some of these needed hospitalization that is to say that a small. well percentage in the range of one percent of people who have recovered
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from the disease may be reinfected very soon after they have recovered. and important part of our immune system what role do these helper cells play in corona virus immunity. we know very little about the cells in the defense a good against cope with 19 but we do know that they're extremely important for other respiratory viruses so we can assume that they are also important for sasco too and we know from sars the earlier variant of the sasco for rhasis that t. cells. are detectable in the mucosal in the respiratory tract are much more long lived and probably more important than the antibody responses in these patients so the t. cells are extremely important to protect us against respiratory viruses like sasquatch to to defeat the covert 1000 pandemic we need a vaccine scientists all over the world are working around the clock to meet the
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challenge as of late july the w.h.o. says there are 25 vaccine candidates currently in clinical evaluation the research teams are pursuing various strategies. more than 160 research groups around the world a company working on a potential could only virus fact most of the early stages. of research is involved deploying a variety of strategies. some are working with coronavirus cells that they frowned at harmless other teams of focusing on individual molecules generally taken from the shell of the virus. another approach is to take viruses that are harmless to humans and out of her own of irish out party. the idea common to all of these methods is for substances to enter the body that will activate the immune system. which will in time. to the back. so if the actual virus
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infects the body those antibodies are immediately dispatched to it is hard to neutralize the invaders. but producing vaccines on a large scale takes time something that's in short supply with the ongoing pandemic . but there is a promising alternative strategy. in this case scientists use m. r.n.a. a single strand element of the virus is genetic. the body then builds virus molecules based on the code effectively creating its own vaccine. the virus molecules activate antibody production. a number of vaccines are now in clinical trials involving humans with several parts in the final stage of testing. which one of the candidates gains approval for us remains to be seen.
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all living organisms communicate through fragrance animals through noises and behaviors elephants communicated frequencies too low for humans to hear. manta rays make sounds in the water with the help of the films. but as far as we know only human beings have developed a complete language system so how did we do it. in time approximately 7000 languages are spoken around the world today there are 24 official languages in the european union alone and over 100 minority languages on the continent but how did language originate how did it develop. that's what the experts at the leipzig research center for early childhood development want to explore using real life specimens discovered. we know relatively little
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about the roots of the language we use today because we can't travel back in time so we have to rely on finding alternative languages that we can study. sign language for example examining it in depth can provide the researchers with some interesting insights. into it he 1st inclination to sign language can be understood instinctively. it's pretty clear that we could communicate and express ourselves using sign language quite easily so it was a good starting point for us one thing we wanted to find out for example was even if they can't speak or if they can't use the language they know. what can children intuitively do to communicate with a playmate say pop and beautiful standing. the researchers there for exam and how simple gestures can give rise to a new form of sign language. when you send them to study shows us what components
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are required for a language to develop be it a spoken language or a sign language. for the study the children were put in different rooms and could communicate via webcam but without sound they could see each other but not talk to each other. their 1st task was to communicate what was on the pictures in front of them. using a hammer for example. when the most common solution the children came up with was directed out if i want to convey using a hammer then i make a gesture that's what we call an iconic gesture quite a sign whose form resembles its meaning but what's. the 2nd task. it was harder the children had to convey a blank sheet of paper so there was nothing and such to convey the girl on the right isn't getting it but. the other girl isn't sure what to do and tries showing
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a flat hand. then all of a sudden the girl in the turquoise shirt has an idea she points to a white spot on her t. shirt and eventually the penny drops when the what's exciting is what happens next when the 2 girls switch roles even though the other girl doesn't have anything white on her t. shirt she does the same thing so they've spontaneously come up with a word a gesture for an abstract concept nothing nothing. the final task was even more complex. the children had to convey for example the difference between a smaller and bigger dog. and seen such as a monkey chasing an elephant. the researchers were surprised by the children solutions. the 3rd showed the children aren't limited to thinking up gestures to represent something they can also use these signs to construct a mini grammatical system when they want to convey
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a more complex meaning. as the scenes they wanted to convey became more complex the children became more inventive in creating and combining science. but what does that have to say about the origins of language. believe that yes the abolition of signs in the form of gestures is a plausible starting point for language but basically the 1st step is to establish a sign that directly represents what it expresses an action say the 1st the signs are established and in the 2nd step combined then you have a set of rules that can be widely used and on. the lights that researchers are still only in the 1st phase of their study a study they hope will lead them back to the. origins of human language. for more stories from the world of science go to our website or find us on twitter at d w underscore science. and now
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we're off to the coldest part of the antarctica where germany runs a research station called knowing my own 3. as these webcam pictures suggest scientists working at the research station need to be made of tough stuff but several teams of scientists are up for the challenge seeking answers in the ice we join one group who are investigating the effect of climate change on emperor penguins. setting out from the new minor 3 research station in antarctica the snowmobiles of the german scientists are driving over a sheet of ice that's 200 meters thick. it's the extreme ice shelf which ends a few kilometers further on with the frozen ocean begins. the
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winter landscape offers nothing but icebergs and emperor penguins. and life in bitterly cold conditions at the tip of the world. has spent several months observing the penguin colony emperor penguins breed and rear their young on the sea ice. is one of. their not a stage when the chicks are relatively big. they can stay on their own for quite a while allowing both parents to go off in search of food. and so you slowly have a 1st kindergartens forming. come together in groups of them so that they have a bit more protection. this year the penguin researchers have. drones with them partly because they want to map out the colony but also to test how the birds respond to the noise. we hear on the half of the german
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environment agency and because more and more drones are being used here they want to have a basis on which to draw up guidelines covering when and at what height drones can be used above animal populations. in addition to testing the impact of the noise the scientists will also be able to determine for the 1st time how many emperor penguins are actually here in the colony so far their numbers have only been estimated at more than 20000. the 1st trial runs with the drone run smoothly. so it looked like there was less of a reaction than expected. we thought they'd panic more but the response was relatively small as far as we could observe. the emperor penguins come here every year after their feeding season where they fatten themselves up ready to breed. the scientists say that if the climate continues to change the future of the emperor
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penguins will be in severe doubt to do you. think there's a grave risk for this penguin colony but the structure of the sea ice on which they breed will change. if temperatures increase and the sea ice receives or breaks up earlier and here their breeding season will be shortened or they may have no breeding ground left at all. and that of course could mean they could no longer build up the colony or reproduce here. such drastic changes have already become a reality elsewhere climate change and rising temperatures on the antarctic peninsula mean some species of penguin are now disappearing chinstrap penguins have been especially hard hit. with population numbers dropping sharply. the declines that we've seen are definitely dramatic now will they continue that that's the question are there enough krill does the population stabilize. there are plenty
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of chinstrap penguins in the world they're not going to go immediately extinct in the next couple of decades. the number of emperor penguins in this colony has remained stable so far because the temperatures in their area which is the southern part of antarctica haven't risen so sharply but scientists are keen to study how things could change in the future and are looking for early warning signs. they pick up and study the chicks that are frozen to death in the icy winter winds alexander vento from the german university of and on in this part of the world's most comprehensive long term study on the project due to its use of these birds probably died 2 or 3 months ago you can see that from their size it was. is and they've been conserved in the ice ever sense this but it's not so unusual for this species that many of the juveniles die early on the conditions are just very harsh
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here to be doing here nevertheless the colony remain stable. it's almost as if nature had factored in the dead chicks the scientists are looking for penguins that they tagged with g.p.s. transmitters a few years ago the idea is to see how far individual penguins stray from the colony while hunting using high resolution cameras the scientists observe the colony throughout the year in winter they huddle together for warmth. that's cool it seemed for me but it's the number one goal of each penguin is to lose as little energy as possible in the cold antarctic winter when they breed this week so they seek to optimize their position in the colony. and what's so fascinating about these birds is that they manage without any hierarchical structure where one gives the orders to move collectively in a well organized way. to being but all penguin researchers are worried about global warming if the sea ice begins to melt earlier in the season things could look bleak for the penguins. if we keep to the $1.00 or 2 degree limit of global warming set
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out in the paris agreement then we can save this species if not it will be lost by 2100 at the latest. it's not yet clear how things will turn out but what is clear sooner or later climate change will threaten the existence of the emperor penguins. hollywood has loved understood the power of lights and lasers star wars and the battle of good against evil would have been a lot less impressive without the light sabers. dealing jet i worry is maybe pure fiction but laser tools made of light of very much a reality and a powerful one at that. in. a
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bin of light that slices through metal. laser lights has become something of a tool for all kinds of uses. it melts plexiglass cut through thick steel also underwater and can even be used to defuse bombs. at the laser tent home hung over or l b h. and his study these ultra thin high powered beams and develop new applications for them like any light a laser beam can be redirected with mirrors or focused on to a target with lenses but laser light transports a lot more energy. to produce laser light a medium like a gas undergoes energetic excitation when light particles are fired at the gas molecules they in turn also emit light this leads to a kind of chain reaction further amplified by mirrors the result is a high intensity beam of the single wavelength that can be directed with great
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precision. lasers are useful for applications requiring a high energy density and a high level of precision as in 3 d. printing. this metal dust will be used to create a small tear unit the computer controlled laser melts the fine steel granular according to the pattern that's been programmed. but i know. you have a bit of powder and a slide bar and then each layer is individually coated or melted by the laser and the component is gradually built up layer by layer so i can be very flexible with the design i'm not restricted to certain geometries that's particularly helpful when designing implants or other components for the human body so it's very useful in the field of medical technology i can make objects that you couldn't create in a single step using molding or cutting techniques i also like to be honest. however
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it takes 14 hours to print the gear mechanism. map of both of the above is more interested in the destructive power of lasers she shoots down we it's within the invisible laser beam the effect is instantaneous and it's deadly. her invention sounds like star wars for farmers a tractor fitted with cameras 1st scans the ground using photo recognition it differentiates between weeds and crops and a ray of laser cannons at the rear then zaps the weeds making them shrivel up and die. has already developed the individual components is. we're looking for alternatives to chemical we have layers the advantage of this system is that it's not a blanket effect unlike with chemicals that kill entire classes of plants and because we actually target each individual plant you could even decide you only
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want to kill the waves that are competing in the immediate vicinity of the crop plant say within a 10 or 15 centimeters radius and you let the rest go on growing on the bottom. unlike in farming lasers have been used for years in the steel industry shipyards for example use huge cutting machines with lasers that can slice through thick steel with a high percentage and cuts here the highly concentrated focused light is melting through this 2 and a half centimeter thick steel plate the instrument can cut through thinner sheets of steel even more quickly lasers are not only very precise the power dosage can also be adjusted exactly. this precision set laser can even carve a word into the head of a match without setting it alight. and graving without igniting.
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pretty cool. and their high precision and power makes lasers useful for another task defusing bombs. during the 2nd world war allied forces dropped around 1600000 tons of bombs over germany not all of them detonated today there are still about 100000 unexploded munitions buried under the ground lasers could help to diffuse them. here's the ball now is a chemical detonator so it could explode at any time but the laser is contactless so i can control and automate it. first the laser cuts a groove into the outer shell of the bomb which will allow the case to give way in a controlled fashion. then it cautiously heats up the explosive material so that it doesn't detonate but burns quickly the result is a small explosion that expels the detonator and splits open the case.
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the outer shell is ripped open without causing any further damage i know ritually every street corner in german cities could have unexploded ordinance lying on the ground so if i can detonate it safely then i can protect people and for me that's more meaningful than just developing technology. another laser application recently won a nobel prize here laser light acts like a pair of tweezers scientists all over the world now use the technique to move or fix tiny cells in place under the microscope the green cross marks the focal point of the laser light nearby particles are automatically drawn to it. the laser itself is an electromagnetic field and its focal point has the most powerful electromagnetic field which attracts all the particles or even cells once they are
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fixated there by this field i can leave a hold them there all move them around and in the best case even lift. in the meantime the 3 d. printer is done lasering the stainless steel gear unit. it just needs a bit of dusting off and then it's ready for action. laser tools are set to revolutionize many technologies in the coming years this may well be the dawn of a new era. the boy. that's all for this week i'm so mara today nice that you could join us next time we'll have more exciting stories from the fields of science and technology. until then good bye.
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good. to get. a little. odd. name and promises and have a symbolic connection. mine is a recurring motif tromping all the new testaments it is essential to holy mass and has been lovingly consummated by diocesan news and monasteries for centuries. we take a look at an ancient craft that has god's blessing. on d w. greens. pottery honeycomb
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fire. that's qatar only a tiny bit bigger the classic board game has taken the many worlds by storm and is now settling on the island of mine now may constance fans are celebrating its 25th anniversary with an xterm around you. in 60 minutes. are they friends say wanted to be with you should try to steer toward you which it wasn't really a full of the time of the famous new mission or are they economy sir william still feels that he's doing a deal with you the ball will be an issue is really what he's going to give me shit i never work for roger almost trump i'm slightly more potent now were 2 part
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documentary analyzes the difficult relationship between russia and the u.s. and between their presidents how does their rivalry and their dangerous mutual admiration affect the rest of the world to some bullies trump and putin starts august 3rd on d w. a . friendship of the vine and work of human hands one has been part of our culture for thousands of years and it's an important symbol for christians. to wine is an expression of human culture that can represent god's closeness to us
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