This Week In IFLScience! – January 3rd – January 9th

New Zealand's COVID Response Was So Good, Mortality Is Down From Previous Years 

Inquests, autopsies, and reporting take time, so a breakdown of the causes of death is not yet available. The authors note, however, the period covered; “Is usually marked by an increase in all-cause mortality due to seasonal influenza and pneumonia.” The same measures that prevented people from catching COVID-19 also presumably slashed other transmissible diseases. 

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Common Anti-Diarrhoea Drug Can Induce Death Of Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells 

Loperamide, sold under the brand name Imodium, has previously been shown to induce cell death of glioblastoma cells, but the mechanism remained unknown until now. Researchers found a pathway by which the drug induces the cells to self-destruct, called autophagy. By upregulating a gene that promotes cell death of glioblastoma cell lines, loperamide may open new avenues to combat this deadly form of cancer. 

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New Quantum Teleportation Record Broken – A Step Forward For Quantum Internet 

Researchers from multiple organizations were able to deliver sustained, long-distance teleportation of qubits (quantum bits) with a fidelity greater than 90% over a fiber-optic network distance of 44 kilometers (27 miles). “We’re thrilled by these results,” said co-author Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the Fermilab quantum science program. “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication.” 

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Dwarf Giraffes Found In The Wild For The First Time 

While conducting a photographic survey in Uganda, researchers spotted something unusual. One of the wild giraffes had notably shorter legs despite having what appeared to be a sub-adult body size. Then they spotted a second wild giraffe with a similar body type in Namibia. Researchers believe both giraffes are affected by a condition similar to skeletal dysplasia, stating this is the first time to their knowledge this type of condition has been reported in wild giraffes. 

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Researchers Discovered A New State Of Matter: Liquid Glass 

Glass is truly a peculiar material. Despite being solid, its components are not organized in a nice crystalline structure like other solids. The quest to understand glass has led researchers to discover a new state of matter: liquid glass. Liquid glass was created with particles that were able to flow but couldn’t rotate. As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this new state gives insight into how regular glass might form. 
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