Jaws on their eyes? Study suggests whale sharks have TEETH on their eyeballs

Scientists from the Okinawa Churashima Research Center in Japan have discovered that the whale shark has developed unique eye-adaptations similar to teeth.

The detailed research confirmed that the eyes of the whale shark are covered with eye denticles: small tooth-like projections that act as a rudimentary form of protection for the shark’s eyeball.

Eyeballs are crucial in helping a creature recognise its environment. However, due to their external nature, they are often subject to hazards.

This being the case, many species of animal developed ways of protecting their eyes. Some evolved to have eyelids, others retract their eyes deeper into their skull, and some, as the research suggests, developed denticles.

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The eye denticles differ in “morphology from that of the dermal denticles distributed over the rest of the body” due to different functionalities.

Dermal denticles look and feel similar to scales but are actually the same as teeth. The rough skin of a shark is composed of dermal denticles and reduces drag, allowing it to swim faster.

The eye denticles, on the other hand, are designed to mechanically protect the eye by reducing abrasion.

The research also revealed that the whale shark (which is the largest fish, reaching over 18 meters in total length) was also discovered to be capable of retracting its eyes into its socket as another means of eye-protection.

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Until now, it was believed that these sharks rarely relied on vision. The fact that this species has developed such protective measures of its eyes “contradicts the general, though poorly established, notion of low reliance on vision in this species.”

The scientists conclude that as eye denticles have yet to be found on closely related species of shark, they are a “unique” characteristic to the whale shark.

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Leading Russian scientist says genetics & blood type can determine risk of death from Covid-19 infection

Genetic predisposition, as well as the blood group to which the patient belongs, determines the risk a person has of dying from coronavirus, that’s according to a top Russian expert.

Mikhail Churnosov says that about 90 percent of human diseases are of a genetic nature and Covid-19 is no exception in this regard. Almost anyone can get the coronavirus, but some people have a sensitivity to this disease due to factors in their genome.

“Why do some get infected and get seriously ill, while others don’t? One of the explanations is the individual genetic characteristics of a person, including those that determine the functioning of certain enzymes, in particular the angiotensin-converting enzyme,” Churnosov told news agency TASS. He is the head of the laboratory of human molecular genetics and a professor at the Belgorod State National Research University.

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He also stated that members of the second blood (A) group are most susceptible to coronavirus.

“In this case, the blood group is a genetic marker of adjacent genes that determine the body’s reactions to various environmental factors,” the professor explained. He added that other issues that can lead to a severe outcome from the disease are related pathologies, obesity and diabetes.

Previously, Iranian scientists have speculated on the connection blood type has with mortality from Covid-19.

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‘Stop ruining everything’: TIME skewered online after denouncing superheroes as 'cops in capes'

TIME magazine has urged the world to stop glorifying superheroes, arguing that they’re basically straight white cops with capes – making them extremely problematic. This seems very reasonable, tweeted basically nobody in response.

Hollywood is finally being held accountable for romanticizing the police, TIME gleefully noted in its trailblazing takedown, but the campaign to reexamine the insidious ‘good cop’ narrative in entertainment should be extended to fictional vigilantes who often possess unfair super-privileges.

“What are superheroes except cops with capes who enact justice with their powers?” the magazine bravely (and rhetorically) asked.

TIME correctly pointed out that Batman sometimes ignores orders and “goes rogue,” which is deeply problematic since there’s “no oversight committee to assess whether Bruce Wayne’s biases influence who he brings to justice and how.” This is just one of many disturbing examples that shine a light on the dark underbelly of crime-fighting comic book characters, the TIME article argues.

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To make matters worse, it adds, the creators and stars of superhero films are often white, heterosexual males – opening the door to rampant “sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of bigotry” in the fictional worlds where men and women in tights fly around and fight bad guys.

Obviously, everyone on social media was deeply impressed with this airtight case for canceling these caped oppressors.

“Now it’s time to drop your subscription to TIME,” read one Twitter comment. Others lamented how benign entertainment was now under siege by “bizarre woke culture.”

Incredibly, it appears that the Black Lives Matter movement has already had a nasty run-in with superheroes. The team promoting the upcoming ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ video game released a downloadable background display that depicted an in-game photo of a defaced Captain America statue.

The image was apparently already connected with the game’s lore, but it nonetheless peeved anti-racist activists, who apparently thought it was connected to the vandalization of statues across the US and Europe. The company behind the game pulled the image after facing backlash from the online outrage mob.

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Australia to spend nearly $1bn over next 10 years to boost cyber security

Australia will spend AU$1.35 billion (US$926.1 million) over the next 10 years to boost its cyber security defenses, PM Scott Morrison said on Tuesday. The statement came weeks after Australia said that a “sophisticated state-based actor” has been attacking all levels of the government, political bodies, essential service providers and operators of critical infrastructure.

The government’s top priority is “protecting our nation’s economy, national security and sovereignty,” Morrison said in a statement. “Malicious cyber activity undermines that.”

The package will include AU$470 million to hire an extra 500 security experts in the Australian Signals Directorate, the country’s cyber intelligence agency.

Australia has never publicly disclosed who was responsible for the hack that came just months before an election. The country’s intelligence agencies “quietly determined China was responsible for that cyber-attack,” Reuters reported late last year. Beijing denies that it was responsible for the attack.

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US could ‘change the world’ by devaluing the dollar – hedge fund manager

There is a shortage of dollars in the global market, according to independent market adviser Hugh Hendry. He says US should look at the value of the national currency, instead of targeting bonds as a form of economic stimulus.

In an interview with CNBC, Hendry said that quantitative easing programs, where central banks buy assets like government bonds to inject liquidity into the economy, are not working.

“Quantitative easing – we’re being missold something,” Hendry argued. “Simply publishing or expanding these inert central bank reserves and trying to scare us all to death that they’re actually printing real money is a fraud.”

He said that “America has decided over several decades to impose a global dollar standard, a monetary standard on the rest of the world. It’s one thing to be the king, [but] you have to behave regally, you have to behave like the king.”

“So, if you’re going to impose a dollar standard on the world, you have to stand by and provide sufficient liquidity. And that’s actually where they’ve been failing.”

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According to Hendry, the widespread sell-off in March, where global markets plunged amid the coronavirus pandemic, was partially due to investors having to sell assets in order to create dollars and repay debt.

Hendry then suggested an alternative approach to support the economy, saying: “In terms of stopping these periodic dramatic flares, would it not be better to target not bond prices, but instead to target the actual value of the dollar?”

Hendry explained: “When I look at the world of macro, I think it’s telling us that we need a lower print on the dollar itself. I think we need the Treasury, and not the Fed, to step up to the plate and tell the world ‘we’re going at target 70 or 60 on the dollar index.’ That would change the world.”

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