Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for April 5, 2020


The Svelte javascript framework provides developers with light-weight web pages; Research in Guatemala offers new hope for migratory bird species; IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; Study finds improved results for stroke survivors during the years from 2000-2015; and a Steem post describing a newly identified organism that can use organic and inorganic materials to produce energy without oxygen


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First posted on my Steem blog: StemGeeks, SteemIt, SteemPeak*, SteemSTEM.

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  1. The JavaScript Framework That Puts Web Pages on a Diet - Subtitle: Svelte, created by a graphics editor for the New York Times, has attracted a following among programmers who want their pages to load faster. - According to HTTP Archive, today's average web site is about 2G in size. This can download quickly for people with broadband, but it's troublesome for people with data caps. In comparison, a complex game or computer program often used to fit on a 1.4 Mb floppy drive. One reason for this bloat arises from advertising and tracking scripts. Another reason is that web pages have grown beyond just displaying text and pictures, and now often feel like full-blown programs.To address this bloat, Rich Harris, a journalist and software developer has created Svelte. The goal of the Svelte framework is to "make it easier to write faster, smaller interactive websites and applications." The first version was released in 2016, while Harris was with the Guardian. It remains a hobby project, but it has seen increasing adoption from web programmers. Compared to other frameworks, the main advantage of Svelte seems to be that it performs some "house cleaning" before the web page is uploaded, and only incorporates the features that are necessary. In contrast, more popular frameworks like React require the developer to upload every feature, regardless of whether it's used. Harris notes that the framework is most useful for "cases where performance and file sizes are particularly important, such as apps that run on smart TVs or low-power devices", but some developers, such as those at Felt Social are also using it on larger projects.

  2. New Hope for Migratory Shorebirds - In 2016, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society were concerned about declining numbers of migratory birds in the Arctic, and identified Guatemala's Pacific coast as a gap in our knowledge about the birds lifecycles. As a result, they began conducting systematic bird surveys in El Paredón, a protected lagoon and estuary in Guatamala's Sipacate-Naranjo National Park. One of these scientists, Varinia Sagastume, has also developed habitats that can provide shelter for migratory birds in the region's semi-intensive shrimp farms. By raising awareness of the need to conserve these migratory species, and by providing ways for the birds to coexist with human activities, it is hoped that the birds' declining populations may be reversed.

  3. Video Friday: This Omnidirectional Drone Flies Using 12 Tiltable Propellers - IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos contains A pseudo-humanoid robot that cleans toilets; A 12-propellor drone that can fly in any direction and flip by pitching or rolling (in order to avoid cable tangling); A rover that can deliver a roll of toilet paper; A new humanoid robot, Meltin from RoboStart appears to be remote controlled through a VR interface, and might have practical applications; and more...

    Here is a video of the omnidirectional drone:


  4. Long-term trends in death and dependence after ischaemic strokes: A retrospective cohort study using the South London Stroke Register (SLSR) - Researchers studied a cohort of 357,308 patients in London, and found that between the year 2000 and the year 2015, mortality was reduced by 2.4% and functional dependence 3 months after a stroke was reduced by 1.7%. The study also noted that "Such reductions were particularly evident in strokes of CE origins and in those aged ≥55 years." -h/t Daniel Lemire

  5. Steem @rt-international: Researchers unearth deep-sea bacteria with metabolism unlike anything encountered before - A new paper in the ISME Journal reports that the Acetobacterium woodii (A. woodii) bacteria, which is commonly found in hydrothermal vents and termite intestines, is able to survive on organic and inorganic substances, without a need for oxygen. The organism is unique among all known organisms because it possesses an ability to produce its own energy by creating and using hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Although it is the only known organism with this ability, scientists have long expected to find one, based on previous investigations suggesting that ancient life may have used this mechanism for energy production. The process is known as hydrogen recycling, and it provides the organism with the ability to maximize metabolic functioning. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @rt-international)


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