Jumping robot leaps to record heights


Roboticists have designed all kinds of leaping robots over time, and plenty of of them have been impressed by biology. However, as various because the pure world is, evolution hasn’t cracked each possibility.

Now a crew of researchers has investigated the variations between organic and mechanical jumpers – and have managed to design a tool able to leaping over 30 metres into the air. That is 3 occasions the present document for a leaping robotic, they usually did it with a way unavailable to the organic world – work multiplication.

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Covid resurgence sweeping UK with infections in over-70s at record high | Coronavirus


A resurgence of Covid instances is below means throughout the UK, with infections within the over-70s at a file excessive, official figures have proven.

Primarily based on random swab checks taken in the neighborhood, the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) estimates that nearly 5%, or 1,544,600 folks, in England had Covid within the week ending 12 March, and three.5% of individuals within the oldest age group. Infections additionally reached a file excessive in Scotland, with one in 14 testing constructive.

The excessive prevalence amongst older folks has prompted unease, after stories this week that vaccine immunity declines steeply in care residence residents. It’s six months since many individuals on this age group had their final vaccine dose.

“Older age teams, particularly individuals who have been isolating for therefore lengthy, at the moment are fairly weak even when they’ve saved updated with their vaccines,” stated Paul Hunter, a professor of drugs on the College of East Anglia.

The rise in infections is being pushed by the extra transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant, which has change into the dominant pressure throughout the UK. It transmits extra readily than the unique BA.1 pressure however there’s good cross-immunity between the 2 variants.

“It’s mainly sweeping up everybody who didn’t get Omicron the primary time round,” Hunter stated. This, he added, meant the present wave was extra prone to observe a brief, sharp trajectory as had been seen in Denmark and the Netherlands, the place there had been an Omicron BA.2 wave.

“It wouldn’t shock me if it peaks earlier than the tip of March,” he stated.

Prof James Naismith, a director on the Rosalind Franklin Institute on the College of Oxford, famous the upper prevalence in Scotland than England – regardless of its extra stringent guidelines, together with a continued masks mandate in outlets and on transport.

“The truth is that variations in management measures between the international locations are meaningless,” he stated. “Prevalence is rising in each space and throughout age teams. With out vaccines, this may be bleak .… Nations with poor vaccination charges face a really difficult future.

“For the UK, my important concern is for the weak, for whom this illness is severe and for these whose lives might be blighted by lengthy Covid. Each effort should be made to triple-vaccinate as many individuals as doable, quadruple-vaccinate probably the most weak and make accessible antivirals.”

Sarah Crofts, the top of analytical outputs for the ONS An infection Survey, stated: “These newest figures present additional will increase in infections throughout a lot of the UK with excessive ranges of an infection all over the place, and in Scotland the very best our survey has seen.

“These will increase are largely pushed by the marked rise of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant,” she added. “It’s notable additionally that infections have risen in all age teams, with the over-70s reaching their highest estimate since our survey started.”

Antarctic sea ice hits lowest minimum on record

Iceberg sits still on a calm day in Antarctica.

With out land limitations, sea ice in Antarctica can transfer extra freely, below the path of the wind and ocean swells.Credit score: David Merron/Getty

Antarctic sea ice shrank to beneath 2 million sq. kilometres this 12 months, the bottom minimal extent since satellite tv for pc information started 43 years in the past.

The minimal extent of 1.92 million sq. kilometres occurred on 25 February and was 190,000 sq. kilometres lower than the now second-lowest extent, reached in 2017, the US Nationwide Snow and Ice Information Middle (NSIDC) reported on 8 March.

“The file low for complete Antarctic sea ice occurred in a lot the identical approach because the 2017 occasion,” says Ryan Fogt, a climatologist at Ohio College in Athens. Each occasions had an sooner than common most sea-ice extent, which was adopted by speedy declines, he says. From 2017, the sea-ice extent stayed nicely beneath common for a couple of years, returning to near-average circumstances once more in 2020.

Lowest on record: Line chart showing Antarctic sea ice minimum extent from 1979 to 2022.

Supply: Nationwide snow & ice knowledge heart.

The file low was partly because of sturdy winds pushing ice out of the Ross Sea, a bay off the coast of Antarctica, to areas additional north the place it iswarmer. There, the ice broke up and melted, says Walt Meier, a senior analysis scientist at NSIDC, who relies on the College of Colorado Boulder. “I believe a lot, if not all, of the occasion will be ascribed to pure variability,” says Meier.

Ups and downs

In contrast to within the Arctic, the place sea ice has declined quickly since satellite tv for pc measurements started in 1979, Antarctic sea ice has seen numerous year-to-year variability (see ‘Lowest on file’) — contradicting expectations from some local weather fashions that predicted it ought to decline in response to elevated greenhouse-gas emissions. The best and second-highest Antarctic sea-ice minimums on file had been reached in 2008 (3.69 million sq. kilometres) and 2013 (3.68 million sq. kilometres). In 2015 and 2016, the minimal dropped dramatically. “With a lot variability, it isn’t too shocking that one might get a file low,” says Meier.

In Antarctica, sea ice will develop wherever it’s chilly sufficient for ice to kind. “There aren’t any land limitations in the way in which,” says Fogt. With out limitations, the ice turns into a lot thinner, that means it may be moved freely by the winds, masking a larger space, he provides.

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“Antarctic sea ice responds to the whim of the environment and ocean,” says Pat Langhorne, who research such ice on the College of Otago in New Zealand. This contains wind path and ocean swells, in addition to patterns within the tropical Pacific Ocean associated to El Niño and La Niña.

Meier says the isolation of Antarctica has, to this point, protected a lot of it from experiencing warming, apart from the Antarctic Peninsula, which sticks as much as the north and has warmed markedly prior to now 40 years. International warming might have a task on this new file, however it’s too early to inform, he says.

“This might be the beginning of sustained lack of Antarctic ice much like what we have now seen within the Arctic over the previous 50 years, or it might be short-term variability that reverts again to the imply 12 months,” says Zeke Hausfather, a local weather scientist at Berkeley Earth in California. In the long run, local weather change will lead to declining Antarctic sea ice, he provides.