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  • Shameera Sarwar

Strep A, the power of the sun and a rare dinosaur

Streptococcus A (Strep A)

Group A Streptococcus also known as Strep A. It is a bacteria commonly found on skin or throat, which can cause disease under certain circumstances. Health officials are concerned that infections remain uncommon despite the rise in cases. According to UKHSA data, there have been 1.5 cases of invasive Group Strep A infection (iGAS). Which is the most severe type of infection associated with Strep A – per 100,000 children aged one to four since September in England are infected from Strep A.

A sore throat or a skin infection are mild and familiar symptoms of Strep A, that can be easily treated with antibiotics. On the other hand, there is a range of serious things which can be lethal such as scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is mostly affecting young children and, again, needs antibiotics. It causes a rash and flu-like symptoms, including a temperature, sore throat, and swollen neck glands. Rashes are less visible on darker skin but have a sandpapery feel. People affected with scarlet fever do have strawberry tongue.

Breakthrough In Nuclear Fusion Energy

An announcement has been made by US scientists, which is a major breakthrough in the battle to reinvent nuclear fusion. Researchers confirmed that more energy can be produced from the fusion experiment than was put in. Experts believe that there is a way to go before fusion power homes. That’s how they will produce nearly limitless clean energy and will overcome a major stumbling block.

The experiment took place at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California. LLNL director Dr Kim Budil said: “This is a historic achievement over the past 60 years. Thousands of people have contributed to this endeavor and it took real vision to get us here. Nuclear fusion is described as the ‘holy grail’ of energy production. It is the process that powers the Sun and other stars.”

Nuclear fusion, which is the opposite of nuclear fission, works by taking pairs of light atoms and forcing them together – this will release a lot of energy. Heavy atoms are split apart. Nuclear fusion produces far more energy, and only few aggregates of short-lived radioactive waste. Further there are not any greenhouse gas emissions produced, which doesn’t contribute to climate change. The challenge is to keep the elements together in fusion which requires very high temperature and pressure.

Rare dinosaur’s fossil found

Approximately 120 million years ago, Microraptors stalked ancient woodlands which is China now. They are four winged dinosaurs, roughly the size of crows. Scientists researched several types of Microraptors, whereas still they don’t know what they eat or how they eat. Now an incredibly rare fossil has revealed the preserved final meal of one Microraptor individual. Unexpectedly and fortunately, it was a mammal.

“At first, I couldn’t believe it”, says vertebrate paleontologist Hans Larsson from McGill University in Canada, who found the fossil while looking through samples at museum collections in China. “There was a tiny rodent-like mammal foot about a centimeter long perfectly preserved inside a Microraptor skeleton”. Up until now, the small dinosaurs had only been proven to eat birds, fish, and lizards. They were considered as arboreal hunters that glided down from the trees to capture prey. The latest discovery expands on that idea, suggesting they were more likely to be opportunistic eaters. Suggesting that they both scavenged and preyed upon a variety of vertebrates.

"We already know of Microraptor specimens preserved with parts of fish, a bird, and a lizard in their bellies. This new find adds a small mammal to their diet, suggesting these dinosaurs were opportunistic and not picky eaters” says Larsson. It is interesting for all the people who are ambitious to know about the evolution of the planet ‘Earth’. As it is providing some clue regarding how dinosaurs left the hand for the sky, or they evolved into the bird’s species that we can see today. Now we know that Microraptor are generalist carnivores according to Larsson, so we can manage to figure out how the ancient ecosystem would have worked.

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