Fly me to the Moon: US, Japan aim for lunar landing

Japan and the United States said Monday they want to put the first Japanese astronaut on the Moon as the allies deepen cooperation on space projects.

No non-American has ever touched down on the lunar surface, and Japan has previously said it hopes to achieve a Moon landing by the end of this decade.

Keep reading... Show less

US high schoolers design low-cost filter to remove lead from water

When the pandemic forced schools into remote learning, Washington-area science teacher Rebecca Bushway set her students an ambitious task: design and build a low-cost lead filter that fixes to faucets and removes the toxic metal.

Using 3D printing and high-school level chemistry, the team now has a working prototype -- a three-inch (7.5 centimeter) tall filter housing made of biodegradable plastic, which they hope to eventually bring to market for $1 apiece.

Keep reading... Show less

Chicago’s top fungi guy is out to save the world, one beautiful mushroom at a time

CHICAGO — Contrary to what his profession might lead you to believe, Joe Weber hasn’t always been obsessed with mushrooms. It’s not that he hated them either. Rather, while growing up in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, he didn’t think about mushrooms at all, beyond the rare occasion they would make an appearance at his family’s dinner table. When they did, he wasn’t impressed. These days, as founder and CEO of Chicago’s Four Star Mushrooms, an indoor mushroom farm, it’s pretty much all the 26-year-old thinks about. For the past 2 1/2 years, Four Star Mushrooms has been supplying high-quality fungi ...

‘Dracula Daily’ reanimates the classic vampire novel for the age of memes and snark

If you’re an active social media user, perhaps you’ve noticed a surge in posts recently about paprika, reflective shaving glasses and castle hospitality in Transylvania. One hundred twenty-five years after its initial publication, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is having a resurgence.

The current popularity bump is thanks to an email newsletter called “Dracula Daily.” The original 1897 version of “Dracula” was told in epistolary format, meaning the novel’s plot is presented through journal entries, letters, newspaper articles and the like. Matt Kirkland hit on a simple idea: Release the novel “Dracula” by entry, by date. Subscribers to his Substack newsletter receive messages in their inboxes day by day as the vampire tale unfolds in real time. If there’s no action on that date, there’s no message sent.

Keep reading... Show less

Showing you’re stressed may make you more likeable – new research

Humans behave in strange ways. We readily reveal our inner feelings during moments of weakness, which doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do.

Just by observing someone’s behaviour, we can tell when they are in pain, frustrated or upset. Surely the best strategy is to try and conceal weakness? Why run the risk of being taken advantage of?

Keep reading... Show less

Psychedelics: how they act on the brain to relieve depression

Up to 30% of people with depression don’t respond to treatment with antidepressants. This may be down to differences in biology between patients and the fact that it often takes a long time to respond to the drugs – with some people giving up after a while. So there is an urgent need to expand the repertoire of drugs available to people with depression.

In recent years, attention has turned to psychedelics such as psilocybin, the active compound in “magic mushrooms”. Despite a number of clinical trials showing that psilocybin can rapidly treat depression, including for cancer-related anxiety and depression, little is known about how psilocybin actually works to relieve depression in the brain.

Keep reading... Show less

The use of deepfakes can sow doubt, creating confusion and distrust in viewers

In early March, a manipulated video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was ciruclated. In it, a digitally generated Zelenskyy told the Ukrainian national army to surrender. The video was circulated online but was quickly debunked as a deepfake — a hyper-realistic yet fake and manipulated video produced using artificial intelligence.

While Russian disinformation seems to be having a limited impact, this alarming example illustrated the potential consequences of deepfakes.

Keep reading... Show less

A fossil tooth places enigmatic ancient humans in Southeast Asia

What do a finger bone and some teeth found in the frigid Denisova Cave in Siberia’s Altai mountains have in common with fossils from the balmy hills of tropical northern Laos?

Not much, until now: in a Laotian cave, an international team of researchers including ourselves has discovered a tooth belonging to an ancient human previously only known from icy northern latitudes – a Denisovan.

Keep reading... Show less

What’s it like to be on Venus or Pluto? We studied their sand dunes and found some clues

What is it like to be on the surface of Mars or Venus? Or even further afield, such as on Pluto, or Saturn’s moon Titan?

This curiosity has driven advances in space exploration since Sputnik 1 was launched 65 years ago. But we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what is knowable about other planetary bodies in the Solar System.

Keep reading... Show less

Monkeypox symptoms: The 7 early signs to look for

Monkeypox is mostly transmitted when someone comes into contact with an animal, another human or materials contaminated with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus can enter the body through broken skin, respiratory tract, eyes, nose or mouth. The CDC said this most recent outbreak of monkeypox began over the past two weeks in countries that do not normally report monkeypox, such as Portugal, the United Kingdom and Spain. In the United States, a Massachussetts man was infected with monkeypox, and officials also have reported a possible case in N...

Boeing's Starliner encounters propulsion problems on way to ISS

American aerospace giant Boeing's Starliner capsule was heading for the International Space Station Thursday, in a critical uncrewed test flight that followed years of failures and false starts.

The spacecraft encountered some propulsion troubles early in its journey, with two thrusters responsible for orbital maneuvering failing for unclear reasons -- but NASA officials said the mission remained on track.

Keep reading... Show less

Monkeypox is almost nothing like COVID-19. Here's what to know, from 2 scientists who've studied it

Monkeypox is almost nothing like COVID-19. Among the many differences — fortunately, for a world weary of the pandemic — is that monkeypox is far less transmissible. So although a monkeypox case was identified Wednesday in Massachusetts, along with a handful earlier this month in Europe, infectious-disease experts say it won't mean another global health crisis. Yet monkeypox is a serious disease, well worth monitoring so it can be contained with the standard tools of public health. Chief among them, in this case, are vaccines (yes, there already is one) and isolating infected people. Monkeypox...

World has learned little from coronavirus pandemic and is ‘woefully’ unprepared for the next one: report

The world has learned little from the coronavirus pandemic – and we are not using what we did gain to prevent or deal with another one, a panel convened by the World Health Organization said this week. Globally, we are “woefully” unprepared for the next pandemic, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said Wednesday, presenting a report commissioned by WHO a year ago. This is not for lack of understanding of what to do, nor is it about the severity of the next pathogen, they said. It’s simply because for some reason there is not enough political will. “If there were a new...