When an aerial survey organized by Ocean Cleanup flew over the Pacific Ocean between California and the Hawaiian Islands, the crew was shocked by what they saw. While they’d expected to see some trash – scientists have known for years about rotating gyres of garbage swirling at different spots in the Pacific, pulled there by ocean currents – the quantity was much higher than they’d anticipated. In 2.5 hours, they counted over 1,000 pieces of garbage.
In May, a man at the wheel of a Tesla was killed in a truck collision while in “autopilot” mode. In June, Google’s self-driving cars cruised around more than 1.7 million miles of roadway. In September, Uber launched a fleet of driverless cars in Pittsburgh. And just a few weeks ago, Barack Obama penned an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the potential for automated cars to make roadways safer.
The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines for the treatment of gonorrhea after many new antibiotic-resistant strains have emerged around the world. The WHO recommends doctors use cephalosporins instead of quinolones (both of which are classes of antibiotics), changing the protocol for gonorrhea treatment for the first time since 2003.
The conservation attempt began with noble intentions: to save wild horses and burros from certain extinction. In the 1960s, cowboys and other business owners hunted these symbols of American freedom and independence across the West for use in cheap pet food. In 1971, Congress passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, making it a crime to kill the animals on public land and placing them under the protection of the Bureau of Land Management. Which makes it all the more strange that BLM’s advisory board is now recommending that 45,000 wild horses and burros be either euthanized or sold.
When Hungarian theoretical particle physicists detected a radioactive decay anomaly in a series of experiments, they published a paper in 2015 suggesting those anomalies pointed to the existence of dark photons. These theoretical force carriers have never been detected, and might indicate unseen dark matter (so-called because it neither absorbs nor emits light, and so is impossible to detect directly) – which could help researchers understand why the universe is filled with dark matter. Or maybe, said a group of American physicists who reviewed the Hungarians’ research in 2016, this is actually the signature of a fifth fundamental force.