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Every COVID-19 particle on Earth could fit in Coke can: scientist

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Every COVID-19 particle on Earth could fit in Coke can: scientist

All of the COVID-19 virus particles spreading death and misery around the world would fit into a single Coke can, according to a British mathematician.

Bath University numbers-crunching expert Kit Yates worked out that there are some 2 quintillion — or 2 billion billion — SARS-CoV-2 particles in the world at any one time, Sky News reported.

But because of their minuscule size, if you rounded them all up, it would only make up “a few mouthfuls.”

“It’s astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls,” Yates said.

Describing his infinitesimal calculations, Yates said he used the diameter of the viral particles — at an average of about 100 nanometers, or 100 billionths of a meter — and figured out the volume of the spherical virus.

Even accounting for the telltale spike proteins and the fact that the particles will leave gaps when stacked together, the total is still less than in a single 330-milliliter Coke can, he said.

“When I was asked to calculate the total volume of SARS-CoV-2 in the world for the BBC Radio 4 show More or Less, I will admit I had no idea what the answer would be,” Yates wrote in The Conversation.

“My wife suggested it would be the size of an Olympic swimming pool. ‘Either that or a teaspoon,’ she said. ‘It’s usually one or the other with these sorts of questions,’” he added.

More than 2.35 million people have died of COVID-19 so far, and there have been more than 107 million confirmed cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, the death toll is almost 472,000 and there are about 27.3 million confirmed cases.

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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

NASA released a video this week giving viewers the chance to witness the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s historic third flight in 3D.

In a release on Wednesday, the agency said that the video was meant to approximate standing on the Martian planet and witnessing the action “firsthand.”

“When NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took to the Martian skies on its third flight on April 25, the agency’s Perseverance rover was there to capture the historic moment. Now NASA engineers have rendered the flight in 3D, lending dramatic depth to the flight as the helicopter ascends, hovers, then zooms laterally off-screen before returning for a pinpoint landing,” the agency said.

The Perseverance Mars rover’s zoomable dual-camera Mastcam-Z instrument produced the video and other images NASA says provide “key data” for navigation and aids in scientists’ efforts to locate rocket targets – and potentially ancient microbial life.

NASA also announced Tuesday that the rover’s robotic arm had begun conducting science operations, including a close examination of the planet’s terrain and environment. 

The Mastcam-Z imager took shots of reddish-brown Martian rocks that the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California is trying to classify as sedimentary or igneous, or formed by volcanic activity.

JPL imaging scientist Justin Maki led the team that put together the video of the rotorcraft’s flight, according to the release, which noted that frames of the video had been reprojected to optimize viewing in an anaglyph.

The video was a first for Maki, who had reportedly been creating 3D imaging of Mars since his days as a graduate student. 

“The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (Mars Descent Imager) camera,” he said. “To be reusing this capability on a new mission by acquiring 3D video of a helicopter flying above the surface of Mars is just spectacular.” 

Perseverance’s drivers and arm operators reportedly use a “more sophisticated” 3D system, but Maki’s team members have also been reviewing still 3D images to map out rover drives.

“A helicopter flying on Mars opens a new era for Mars exploration. It’s a great demonstration of a new technology for exploration,” he said. “With each flight we open up more possibilities.”

Ingenuity’s April 25 flight was one of five successful experimental endeavors – with one failed attempt.

In April, NASA announced that the helicopter would enter a new operations demonstration phase, having already proven that powered, controlled flight is possible on the red planet.

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Today is tax deadline day for 2021

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Today is tax deadline day for 2021

The tax man cometh. 

Monday is the deadline for filing federal taxes without incurring a penalty, unless you seek an extension. 

This past spring, the IRS pushed back its usual April 15 deadline by more than a month, saying it wanted to be understanding given the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement at the time.

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Jeffrey Epstein gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage

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Jeffrey Epstein gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage

Jeffrey Epstein reportedly gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage with his now-estranged wife Melinda during meetings the two had at the pedophile’s Manhattan townhouse.

Epstein, who killed himself in August 2019 in a lower Manhattan jail cell, gave some pointers to Gates about what the Microsoft co-founder called his “toxic” marriage to Melinda, two sources told The Daily Beast.

Epstein and Gates met dozens of times from 2011 to 2014, the report said, with Gates treating the get-togethers as an escape, a person who attended some of the meetings told the publication.

Most of the gatherings occurred at Epstein’s Upper East Side pad.

“[It’s] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” a source told the outlet.

During some of the meetings, Gates spoke to Epstein about possibly getting involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the report said.

A spokesperson for Bill Gates refuted the allegations in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein — on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein,” the spokesperson said.

“Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,” the spokesperson said to the outlet.

The rep also said Gates never spoke with Epstein about him possibly getting involved with the foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates said they were ending their 27-year marriage earlier this month, saying, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” In a divorce petition, Melinda said their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

Melinda reportedly hired divorce attorneys in 2019, after her husband’s ties to Epstein were made public, setting in motion the couple’s divorce announcement.

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