Venezuelan President Almost Killed

Grind for August 19th, 2018
“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”

– Edgar Allan Poe

New Discoveries

The Headline

New research explains why blue light hurts our eyes

The Grind

Electronics like TVs and cell phones emit blue light, which thanks to its high energy and short wavelength is more damaging to our eyes than other colors.

Blue light is even more damaging at night (i.e. when you’re lying in bed with the lights off browsing Twitter).

Blue light is known to contribute to macular degeneration – an incurable eye disease that causes vision loss – but until recently, scientists didn’t understand why.

The Details

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Toledo, blue light has a direct and toxic effect on retinal – the fuel that keeps the photoreceptors in your eyes working.

“You need a continuous supply of retinal molecules if you want to see,” explains lead research Ajith Karunarathne. “Photoreceptors are useless without retinal, which is produced in the eye.”

To study the effects of blue light on retinal, the team combined retinal with a variety of other cells – including photoreceptors – and exposed it to blue light.

In all cases, the combination of blue light and retinal produced poisonous chemical molecules that killed the other cells. The blue light had no effect on cells without retinal.

What this means is that the combination of blue light and retinal kills photoreceptors – which is what causes vision loss in patients with macular degeneration.

The team also discovered that a derivative of Vitamin E can prevent this type of cell death, and they hope to use that discovery to create eye drops capable of slowing macular degeneration.

“Every year more than two million new cases of age-related macular degeneration are reported in the US,” says Karunarathne. “By learning more about the mechanisms of blindness in search of a method to intercept toxic reactions caused by the combination of retinal and blue light, we hope to find a way to protect the vision of children growing up in a high-tech world.”

That Was Close

The Headline

Six suspects arrested after assassination attempt on Venezuelan President

The Grind

Venezuelan authorities arrested and charged six individuals with “terrorism and assassination” after a dramatic attempt on President Nicolas Maduro’s life.

Suspects sent three DJI M600 drones flying towards Maduro Saturday while he was delivering a speech at a military parade in Caracas. Each drone was armed with enough C-4 explosive to damage an area with a radius of 50 meters.

It appears the suspects lost control of one drone, which fell into a nearby apartment building and exploded. A second drone was taken out by authorities before it could reach Maduro and a third exploded on the stage near where Maduro had been standing.

Seven members of the National Guard were harmed during the attack.

The Details

According to Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez, most of the individuals involved in the attack have been detained and are confessing.

“Not only are they confessing, [but] the government has also been able to examine the material that was in their possession, as well as some of the electronic devices they had including cell phones and computers.”

Maduro appeared on television just hours after the incident, claiming the Venezuelan political far right had collaborated with outgoing Colombian President Juan Manual Santos to conduct the attack.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that many of those responsible for the attack, the financiers and planners, live in the US in the state of Florida,” he added. “I hope the Trump Administration is willing to fight terrorist groups that commit attacks in peaceful countries in our continent, in this case Venezuela.”

Let’s remember this is Maduro’s government, and reports about suspects confessing could be a strategy to ward off future attacks.

Did you know… Christmas Island has bridges for crabs to stop them getting run over during the mass migration.