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Children Poisoned by Birthday Cake Decorations Loaded With Lead, Copper

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A recent baking trend of using “luster dusts” to give cake frostings and decorations a shimmery look has poisoned young children with heavy metals in at least two states, health researchers warn in a new report published Friday.

A toxic birthday cake for a 1-year-old left six children (ages 1 to 11) severely ill with vomiting and diarrhea after an October 2018 birthday party in Rhode Island. One child needed to be taken to the emergency room.

Investigators from the Rhode Island Department of Health traced the illnesses to the cake’s thick layer of frosting laced with a rose gold “luster dust.” The cake was produced in a commercial bakery, and the health investigators identified three possible sources of the bakery’s luster dust. One was an importer who identified the dust as “fine copper powder” that was initially sold as “metallic pigment for consumer goods such as floor coverings.” Though the dust was labeled “nontoxic,” it was also labeled “nonedible.”

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Original Article: arstechnica.com

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Russia Threatens Criminal Charges Against a NASA Astronaut

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Enlarge / Image of the hole in Soyuz MS-09 vehicle docked to the International Space Station in 2018. (credit: NASA TV)

The Russian space corporation, Roscosmos, said it has completed an investigation into a “hole” found in a Soyuz spacecraft when the vehicle was docked to the International Space Station in 2018.

Moreover, Roscosmos told the Russian publication RIA Novosti that it has sent the results of the investigation to law enforcement officials. “All results of the investigation regarding the hole in the habitation module of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft were transmitted to Law Enforcement officials,” Roscosmos said. No further details were provided.

In Russia, the results of such an investigation are sent to law enforcement to allow officials to decide whether or not to initiate a criminal case, which would be akin to issuing an indictment. Russia does not have a grand jury system like in the United States, where investigators hand over their evidence to prosecutors, who decide whether to press charges.

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Original Post: arstechnica.com

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This 3D Printer Ink Is Alive

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Enlarge (credit: A. Duraj-Thatte, A. Manjula-Basvanna et. al./Nature)

3D printing has already been put to use in many interesting applications, from large-scale homebuilding to robot hands that are good at Super Mario Bros.—and even creepy materials that can shape-shift into a human face. But researchers Anna M. Duraj-Thatte and Avinash Manjula-Basavanna have something more lively in mind. A new type of 3D printer ink with self-assembling properties may play a role in the future of renewable building materials and even ink that grows itself.

Researchers from Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, among others, reported their findings in a paper published Tuesday in Nature Communications. As reported by Phys.org on Saturday, the paper details ink made of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells bioengineered to make nanofibers.

Despite 3D printing’s advances, creating arbitrary shapes and patterns is still challenging, the paper explains. So the researchers set out to create what they call “microbial ink” made “entirely from genetically engineered microbial cells, programmed to perform a bottom-up, hierarchical self-assembly of protein monomers into nanofibers, and further into nanofiber networks that comprise extrudable hydrogels.”

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Source Here: arstechnica.com

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Seattle Humane: a Foster Volunteer’s Perspective

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Re: “Seattle Humane not living up to promises made in $30 million campaign for new complex” [Nov. 7, Local News]: I have volunteered at Seattle Humane for a total of about six years, nearly five-and-a-half years as a cat foster parent. I cannot address what was said in the article, but I want to give […]

Article: seattletimes.com

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