A Canadian Radio Telescope Has Been Receiving Mysterious Signals From Across the Universe Since July
It lasts just milliseconds, but it could be a turning point in space research. Since July, Canada’s CHIME Telescope has received Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) from across the universe. It may be the first time Earth has received a signal from an alien civilization — or the cry of a dying star.
The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment in British Columbia began operations in 2017, with the overarching goal of collecting data about dark energy, the mysterious force that comprises 70% of the universe. More specifically, the journal Nature describes CHIME’s mission as “[mapping] the density of interstellar hydrogen across the Universe in the epoch between 10 billion and 8 billion years ago.” Part of the data collected includes FRB. Since the first transmission in July, many more FRB have been received by the CHIME telescope, but researchers can’t say where they’re coming from or what might be sending them.
At the DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas, kids aged 8-16 had the chance to hack into simulated US election systems — and they found it alarmingly quick and easy.
Emmett Brewer, an 11-year-old Texan, was able to access a duplicate of Florida’s state election website in under 10 minutes. Once inside, he changed the vote tallies in the site to award himself 239 billion votes in less than five minutes. An 11-year-old girl was able to perform the same hack in about 15 minutes.
This New Agreement Between 23andMe and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Is Causing Major Concern Among Privacy Advocates
The four-year agreement will grant GSK exclusive access to 23andMe’s database of genetic information, with the goal of developing new, targeted drugs and therapies. This isn’t the first time that 23andMe has offered its customers’ data to another organization for research, but those partnerships have previously been transparent. What does this new deal mean for genetic privacy and who will benefit from the partnership?
A group of white-faced capuchin monkeys in Panama has begun using stone tools to feed themselves, thus entering their own Stone Age. They’re the second group of monkeys that researchers have observed using tools in the past two years, providing intriguing insights into humans’ own evolution.
The Panamanian group lives on the small island of Jicarón, which is part of Coiba National Park. One group of monkeys is particularly adept with its stones, using them to crack open coconuts, snails, and nuts. Researchers first reported the Jicaron monkeys’ use of stone tools in 2004, but a team returned to the island in 2017 to record and document their findings.
After It Was Reported That a Small Town in Japan Needed More Ninjas, Hundreds Around the World Applied--Turns Out It Wasn't True
Like many small cities in Japan, the city of Iga, in Mie Prefecture, is facing a serious depopulation problem. The city of 95,000 is shedding about 1,000 residents annually. Young people from Iga, like young people across the planet, are forsaking rural life in favor of city life.
In order to help combat this trend, Iga Mayor Sakae Okamoto is looking to Iga’s past. And what sets it apart from any number of cities in similar circumstances is that Iga’s history is awesome. Iga claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. It’s already home to one ninja museum, and the city is making moves to underscore its history. But a recent effort to promote its revitalization plan left Okamoto scrambling to set the record straight on some fake news.
FEMA Just Tried to Partially Blame Puerto Rican Families for the Devastating Effects of Hurricane Maria
As the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, FEMA has released its long-awaited report into its failures during the 2017 season. To its credit, FEMA acknowledges how it failed (and continues to fail) Puerto Rico. But FEMA administrator Brock Long also shifted some of the blame to the catastrophe’s victims.
“The 2017 hurricane season showed that all levels of government — and individual families — need to be much better prepared with their own supplies,” he said. “Particularly in remote or insular areas where commodities take longer to deliver.”
When a teenager in Idaho contracted the bubonic plague in early June, it made a few headlines because it was the first case in Idaho in 26 years. Half a millennium after it killed an estimated 60% of the European population, the specter of the Black Death still looms large in Western consciousness — gangrene, swollen lymph nodes, seizures — a horrific relic of days long past. But actually, although the bubonic plague has long been understood, it has never been eradicated.
In fact, outbreaks of the bubonic plague have been fairly common across the US since the early 20th Century. The last widespread outbreak happened in Los Angeles in late 1924, when 30 people who lived within a few blocks of each other contracted the bubonic plague, which developed into pneumonic plague, as it virtually always does when left untreated. Altogether, 24 people died in that outbreak, though newspapers at the time referred to it as a strain of pneumonia to prevent panic — and possibly anti-racist sentiment as the neighborhood affected was home to a large population of Mexican immigrants, including Patient 0. Antibiotics, which are still very effective against the bubonic plague, did not come into widespread use until the 1950s. Before that development, outbreaks were not unusual throughout the west, particularly in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon.