Sunday, November 14, 2021

How Many Satellites Are Orbiting Earth?

The number of satellites orbiting the Earth is increasing exponentially. (Image credit: Shutterstock) 

 Live Science: How many satellites orbit Earth?  

The number is increasing fast, which is problematic. 

Human-made satellites were once rare in low Earth orbit (LEO), with just a handful of them rotating around the planet at the dawn of the Space Age in the 1950s. 

But now, there are thousands of satellites swarming around Earth, with even more waiting to join them. 

So, to put an exact number on it, how many satellites are orbiting Earth, and how many might join them in the near future? 

And once all of these satellites are spaceborne, what types of problems might they cause?  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: There are currently about 7500 active satellites.

This Is What Happens In An Internet Minute In 2021?

  (Click on the above image to enlarge)

Visual Capitalist: From Amazon to Zoom: What Happens in an Internet Minute In 2021? 

In our everyday lives, not much may happen in a minute. But when gauging the depth of internet activity occurring all at once, it can be extraordinary. Today, around five billion internet users exist across the globe. This annual infographic from Domo captures just how much activity is going on in any given minute, and the amount of data being generated by users. To put it mildly, there’s a lot.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: That is a lot of internet activity for only one minute.

Why Going To Sleep At 10 P.M. May Save Your Llife

John Hopkins Medicine 

 Study Finds: Your bedtime impacts heart health. Here’s why going to sleep at 10 p.m. may save your life 

SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, France — Bedtimes are probably something many people only associate with children. However, a new study reveals that adults should be just as strict with their own sleep cycles as well. 

Researchers find that going to bed between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time lowers the risk of developing heart disease compared to any other time of night. 

While bedtimes after midnight resulted in the highest increase in heart-related declines in health, the team finds that even bedtimes earlier than 10 p.m. increased the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. 

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: I would also recommend an afternoon siesta for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The US Army Is Getting Its Most Powerful Laser Weapon Yet

An illustration of the 300-kilowatt laser weapon system General Atomics and Boeing are developing under a contract for the U.S. Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. (Courtesy of Boeing)  

Defense News: US Army awards Boeing, General Atomics contract to develop powerful laser weapon 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has awarded a Boeing and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems team a contract to develop a 300-kilowatt solid-state laser weapon, according to an Oct. 25 Boeing announcement. 

The Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System will consist of both GA-EMS’ distributed gain laser technology and Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software. 

The program will culminate in a demonstration of the system for the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, according to the statement.  

Read more ....  

Update: The military is getting its most powerful laser weapon yet (Popular Science)  

CSN Editor: A first demonstration of the high-energy laser capability is expected in August 2022.

New Research Reveals Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds

Redheads have a genetic mutation which means their melanocytes have a faulty version of a key receptor and therefore can not make dark pigment to get a tan. But a knock-on effect of this is a chemical imbalance leading to a cascade of different hormones which ultimately enhances the effect of pain-blocking receptors (stock)  

Daily Mail: Redheads have a higher PAIN threshold than blondes or brunettes because their skin's pigment-producing cells lack the function of a certain receptor, study reveals 

* Redheads have a faulty receptor on skin pigment cells that stops them tanning 

* But also has a hormonal knock-on effect which results in elevated pain threshold 

* The end result is that gingers produce more opioid signals than people with other hair colours and complections and have an elevated pain threshold Ginger people can tolerate more pain than brunettes and blondes, and a new study has found out why this is. 

It found that the skin cells that determine a person's pigmentation, called melanocytes, are pivotal in deciding a person's pain threshold. Redheads have a genetic mutation which means their melanocytes have a faulty version of a key receptor and therefore cannot make dark pigment to get a tan.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds – New Research Reveals Why (SciTechDaily)  

Update #2: Why redheads feel less pain, according to scientists (NYPost)  

CSN Editor: The connection between skin pigmentation and pain is a surprise.

NASA Rules Out A Weekend Launch For A SpaceX Crew Dragon

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft sits atop its Falcon 8 launcher at Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 31. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky  

Spaceflight: NASA rules out weekend Crew Dragon launch, may bring station crew home first 

NASA has ruled out a weekend launch for a SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station, delaying the Crew-3 flight to Monday at the earliest due to expected bad weather, agency officials said Thursday. 

Given an uncertain forecast, the mission managers may opt instead to bring four station astronauts — Crew-2 — back to Earth first, delaying the Crew-3 launch to later next week.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: Bad weather is the reason.

What Happens When A Baby Takes Its First Breath?  

Live Science: What happens when a baby takes its first breath?  

Two blood vessels unique to fetuses disappear 

Within seconds of birth, a baby takes in its own oxygen for the first time. For that to happen, their tiny lungs and circulatory system have to transform in a matter of seconds. So how does a tiny human manage to take what could be the most challenging breath of its life just seconds after birth? 

First, it helps to understand how the circulatory system — specifically, the lungs and heart — work in utero. The lungs don't provide oxygen to the fetus during gestation. Instead, they are partially collapsed and filled with liquid during development while the baby gets oxygen through the umbilical cord from the placenta, according to the Texas Heart Institute.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: The miracle of life is truly amazing.

U.S. Survey Of Astronomers Puts The Search For Extraterrestrial Life At The Top Of Their To-Do List For The Next 10 Years

ABC News: Search for life on other worlds tops astronomy to-do list  

A U.S. survey of astronomers puts the search for extraterrestrial life at the top of their to-do list for the next 10 years 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A U.S. survey of astronomers puts the search for extraterrestrial life at the top of their to-do list for the next 10 years. 

In a report issued Thursday by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, astronomers stressed the need to continue the hunt for potentially habitable planets circling other stars, building on the “extraordinary progress” already made. 

The ultimate goal, they noted, is to capture pictures of any Earth-like worlds that might be out there.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: This telescope should help .... James Webb Space Telescope Arrives At Europe's Kourou Spaceport To Be Prepped For Launch (November 1, 2021).

Why Do Facebook and Instagram keep crashing?

Technical difficulties: Facebook and Instagram crashed for the second time in a month last night, while a string of banks and other companies have also experienced outages recently  

Daily Mail: Why DO Facebook and Instagram keep crashing? Human error, centralised back-end systems and a surge in traffic are blamed for a string of outages over the past two months 

* Meta's Facebook and Instagram crashed for second time in a month yesterday 

* String of banks, phone networks and fellow tech giants have also had outages 

* MailOnline has spoken to a number of cyber security experts to find out cause 

* They blamed centralised systems, an increase in users and ageing infrastructure 

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook and Instagram crashed for the second time in a month last night, while a string of banks, phone networks and fellow tech giants have also experienced major outages recently. 

Even Britain's biggest supermarket Tesco was brought to its knees by a hack of its website and app last month, leaving thousands of customers unable to order groceries for 48 hours and costing the retailer an estimated £40m in lost revenue.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: Human error, aging infrastructure, centralized back-end systems, and surges in traffic are the main culprits on why websites crash.

What Next For mRNA Vaccines?

The Guardian: Flu, cancer, HIV: after Covid success, what next for mRNA vaccines? 

The technology was viewed with skepticism before the pandemic but there is now growing confidence about its use 

 It is one of the most remarkable success stories of the pandemic: the unproven technology that delivered the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in record time, helping to turn the tide on Covid-19. The vaccines are based on mRNA, the molecule that instructs our cells to make specific proteins. By injecting synthetic mRNA, our cells are turned into on-demand vaccine factories, pumping out any protein we want our immune system to learn to recognise and destroy. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It has cost a lot of money to develop the current mRNA Covid vaccines. That is why I an willing to bet that it will be money that will be the biggest obstacles for developing these type of vaccines in the future.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Facial Recognition System


CNET: Facebook is shutting down its facial recognition system, affecting over a billion people 

The company will delete all of its face scan data, citing societal concerns and regulatory uncertainty. 

Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system this month and delete the face scan data of more than 1 billion users, the company said Tuesday. It cited societal concerns and regulatory uncertainty about facial recognition technology as the reasons. 

More than one-third of the app's daily active users have opted into its Face Recognition setting, the social network noted in a blog post.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: This shutting down will impact one billion users.

What Are The Trojan Asteroids?


SciTechDaily: We Asked a NASA Scientist: What Are the Trojan Asteroids? 

What are the Trojan asteroids? 

These mysterious space rocks have been gravitationally trapped in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun for billions of years and hold clues to the formation of our solar system. NASA’s Lucy mission will be the first spacecraft to study these ancient relics up close. Lucy scientist Audrey Martin at Northern Arizona University has the details.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: So, what are the Trojan asteroids? They’re asteroids that orbit with Jupiter around the Sun that ultimately hold the clues to the formation of our solar system.

Creating Fuel From Thin Air


Daily Mail: Scientists create FUEL from thin air and sunlight for the first time, paving the way towards carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels 

* Researchers have created fuel from thin air and sunlight for the first time 

* Findings may pave the way towards producing carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels 

* But a lot of work would be needed to upscale the ETH Zurich study's process 

* Aviation and shipping contribute to about 8% of total carbon dioxide emissions 

Scientists have created fuel from thin air and sunlight for the first time, paving the way for the production of carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. 

Researchers called their discovery 'an important milestone' that could ultimately help decarbonise the aviation sector, but said a lot of work is still needed to upscale the process. 

Aviation and shipping currently contribute to around 8 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions attributed to human activity.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: The problem with this process is that it is still more expensive than current production methods.

When It Is Launched In December The James Webb Telescope Will Be Facing 'Two Weeks Of Terror'

So much could go wrong, but the engineering teams believe they have all eventualities covered 

BBC: James Webb: Hubble telescope successor faces 'two weeks of terror' 

Engineers like to describe the process of landing a rover on Mars as the "seven minutes of terror". 

That's how long it takes for a robot to come to a standing-stop at the surface of the Red Planet after entering the atmosphere faster than a rifle bullet; and so much has to go right in-between to avoid smashing into the ground. 

But when it comes to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), it's more like "two weeks of terror". 

The successor observatory to the mighty Hubble telescope has been built to see the very first stars to shine in the Universe.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: This new telescope took years to assemble at a cost of $10 billion. So yes. This launch and deployment better work out.

'Google' Is The Most Searched Word On Bing

BBC: 'Google' is most searched word on Bing, Google says 

The top entry on Microsoft's Bing search engine is for its rival Google, Google has said. 

The claim was made in court, as Google made its case to appeal against a €4.3bn ($5bn) fine from the European Union for abusing its market power. 

The EU accused Google of using Android's success in the smartphone market to make Google the default search engine. But Google says its service is simply the most popular. 

"We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, 'Google'," lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the EU General Court, as first reported by Bloomberg. 

"People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: I am willing to bet that Bing is not the most searched word on Google.

World's Languages Can Be Traced Back To A Single African Mother Tongue

The World: World's languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists 

Scientists say they have traced the world's 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single "mother tongue," an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. 

New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures. 

The research, by Quentin Atkinson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also found that speech evolved far earlier than previously thought. And the findings implied, though did not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of controversy among linguists, according to the New York Times.  

Read more ....  

CSN Editor: The stat that caught my attention in this post is that there are 6,000 modern languages.