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Indian Express Explained 20th March 2020

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1. Explained: What is Yaravirus?

  • In a lake in Brazil, researchers have discovered a virus that they find unusual and intriguing. Called Yaravirus, it has a “puzzling origin and phylogeny”, they report in a study on the pre-print server bioRxiv.
  • The Yaravirus infects amoeba and has genes that have not been described before, something that could challenge how DNA viruses are classified.
  • Because of the Yaravirus’s small size, it was unlike other viruses that infect amoeba and they named it as a tribute to Yara, the “mother of waters” in the mythological stories of the Tupi-Guarani indigenous tribes.
  • The virus does not infect human cells, according to the researchers.

2. Explained: What is fermentophone?

  • Fermentation, the chemical breakdown of a substance by microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts, results in some of the most delicious foods and beverages, including cheese, chocolate and wine. Now, research has shown it can result in music, too.
  • Joshua Rosenstock of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute has shown that the chemical processes of fermentation can be used to create spontaneous tunes.
  • He has built multiple art exhibits called Fermentophone to showcase how fermentation can make music.
  • First, different fruits and veggies are placed in glass jars and fermented. As the fermentation kicks off, the yeast — or bacteria — present in the food chows down on the foods’ sugars, which results in the release of carbon dioxide bubbles.
  • The release of these bubbles creates a tiny sound, which is picked up by underwater microphones. A computer processes the sounds and, with the help of algorithms plugged in, electronic music is created.
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