Sources indicate that Vinogradov’s rather unusual request was related to the Federal Tax Services by the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who is currently a deputy of the State Duma.
The Federal Tax Service sent a codeword for the ‘member area’ Internet service that enables him to make payments anyplace he finds it possible to get connected to the worldwide web.
While staying aboard the ISS, Vinogradov managed to pay a tax for a plot of land he has in the Moscow region.
Mikhail Mishustin, the director of the Federal Taxation Service, confirmed the fact in a conversation with reporters on the sidelines of a Tax Administration Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, underway in Moscow now.
Pascal Saint-Amans, the director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration, said in this connection that the long arm of the Russian tax inspectors is already stretched as far out as the near-terrestrial space.
Russia is the only country today that has managed to raise taxes even from a person doing a tour of duty in space, Pascak said joikingly.
He added seriously that the countries dynamically introducing innovations in the field of tax administration are not many.
Strains of E. coli bacteria are capable of producing a biofuel almost identical to diesel.
The importance of the discovery hinges around the idea of "drop-in" fuels -- that existing technology which runs on diesel would not need to be modified in order to utilise the biofuel meaning the costs to business of switching energy sources would be minimal.
"Producing a commercial biofuel that can be used without needing to modify vehicles has been the goal of this project from the outset," said Professor John Love from the University of Exeter's Biosciences department."Replacing conventional diesel with a carbon neutral biofuel in commercial volumes would be a tremendous step towards meeting our target of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Global demand for energy is rising and a fuel that is independent of both global oil price fluctuations and political instability is an increasingly attractive prospect." The E. coli uses a natural oil production process to convert sugars into fats which are then used in the bacteria's cell membrane. By genetically altering the E. coli the researchers were able to convert the sugars to the imitation fossil fuel (perhaps faux-sil fuel?) instead. Unfortunately the process only yields tiny amounts of biodiesel at present meaning that before we can switch energy sources bioscientists will need to find a way to refine the process and produce industrial quantities of fuel.
The chemical compound in cannabis, THC, appears to be able to damage and weaken the most common strain of the HIV virus.
Before you light up a spliff, though, this is only a preliminary result reached under laboratory conditions, and further research will be needed.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis -- it's the chemical that gets the user stoned. Synthetic versions of it have been developed for research purposes, and it's this that was used to attack the HIV-1 virus, which represents the vast majority (more than 90 percent) of all HIV types.The way it works is by interaction with the cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor in white blood cells, specifically the macrophages. Macrophages are one of many types of white blood cell in humans. While the main cells, the lymphocytes, do the bulk of the work in fighting infection by tracking down and destroying germs with antibodies, macrophages form a kind of backup part of the immune system -- attracted to damaged cells, they surround and engulf them while also alerting lymphocytes of new dangers. Macrophages have an unpleasant weakness, though, in that they are one of the first types of cells to be infected by HIV when it enters the body. The virus can live inside macrophages for days, weeks or months, travelling around the body, infecting other cells and acting as an extremely effective pollinator of HIV. Stopping the HIV virus from infecting macrophages is one method researchers are investigating, as it would dramatically curtail the speed at which the infection progresses and would give time for other antiretrovirals to help keep it at bay, or even remove it. The CB2 receptor in macrophages is stimulated normally when THC enters the bloodstream, so nothing unusual there. However, it appears that macrophages that have their CB2 receptor stimulated are stronger when it comes to fighting and weakening the HIV-1 virus. This was discovered when the research team from the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia infected macrophages with the HIV-1 virus, before then exposing cell cultures to one of three types of synthetic THC that specifically target the CB2 receptor. Comparing these cell cultures after seven days against a control group revealed a clear decrease in the rate of HIV-1 infection. Effectively, the macrophages had become stronger at keeping the HIV-1 virus out. Pathologist Yuri Persidsky from Temple University, one of the study's authors, said: "The synthetic compounds we used in our study may show promise in helping the body fight HIV-1 infection. As compounds like these are improved further and made widely available, we will continue to explore their potential to fight other viral diseases that are notoriously difficult to treat." An added benefit of targeting only the CB2 receptor is that its only affect is to stimulate the macrophages -- the psychoactive component of THC is experienced when the CB1 receptor gets targeted. Synthetic THC compounds can be produced to only target the CB2 receptor in this way. THC has also been shown in studies not to suppress the immune systems of those who take it, meaning that the findings could provide hints at a future drug that, in combination with other methods, could be used for suppressing the HIV-1 virus.
The study has been published in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
An anti-cocaine vaccine has been used successfully on non-human primates, bringing it one step closer to approval for use in human addiction therapy.
The vaccine (dAd5GNE) combines elements of the common cold virus with the particle GNE, which mimics cocaine. The vaccine works by preventing the dopamine high associated with taking cocaine.
"The vaccine eats up the cocaine in the blood like a little Pac-Man before it can reach the brain," said Ronald G Crystal, lead author of the study and chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College."We believe this strategy is a win-win for those individuals, among the estimated 1.4 million cocaine users in the United States, who are committed to breaking their addiction to the drug. Even if a person who receives the anti-cocaine vaccine falls off the wagon, cocaine will have no effect." Cocaine works by binding to a dopamine transporter and blocking the recycling of dopamine in two areas of the brain (the putamen in the forebrain and the caudate nucleus, in case you were wondering) meaning those areas get flooded with dopamine and produce the drug high. The vaccine encourages the body to treat cocaine as an intruder and mount an immune response against the drug. According to the results of the study, non-human primates who had received the vaccine showed greatly reduced levels of cocaine binding to the dopamine transmitter. Less than 20 percent, in fact, which the study notes is "significantly below the 47 percent threshold required to evoke the subjective 'high' reported in humans". The results look promising but, if the vaccine is to help humans rather than coked up primates of different species, further studies will be required. One of the key questions non-human testing cannot help with is how effective the vaccine will actually be and how often it would need administering. "An anti-cocaine vaccination will require booster shots in humans, but we don't know yet how often these booster shots will be needed," said Crystal. "I believe that for those people who desperately want to break their addiction, a series of vaccinations will help."
To find out more about the research, don't miss this in-depth feature from our March issue, titled Addiction injection: the mission to immunise drug users against dependency.