Japan needs workers. It is the world’s oldest society, with a quarter of its population over the age of 65. By 2060, an estimated 40 percent of the population will be seniors, with 27 percent over age 75.
To augment the workforce and take care of all those older people, the country is bringing in immigrants to perform service sector jobs. It’s also issuing “technical intern visas” to more skilled workers who can perform factory and construction work. Oh, and nuclear cleanup work. Although, the workers may not have known that’s what they were doing. No one thought to tell them.
While the medical community disagrees about the value of many nutritional supplements, some added nutrients have made an undeniable impact on public health — including one that has the power to raise IQs. Iodine is a critical micronutrient that humans require for good health, successful reproduction and healthy brain development.
Iodine deficiency leads to problems with the thyroid, including cancer, hypothyroidism and goiter. Goiter is a condition in which the thyroid swells up and is visible in the neck, causing swallowing and respiratory problems. In children, iodine deficiency is a leading cause of stunted body growth and intellectual deficiencies, including mental handicaps. The problem isn’t just limited to the developing world; Europe has one-fifth of the world’s iodine deficiency cases.
Famed physicist Stephen Hawking proposed in 1974 that very small amounts of high-energy radiation, in the form of entangled particle pairs, known as Hawking radiation, could theoretically escape a black hole. This was controversial as it went against the conventional understanding that nothing, not energy or light, could escape a black hole. Since 1981, however, when physicist William Unruh discovered that fluid flows could mimic black holes, the hunt for this elusive process has driven researchers to create analogue black holes to test the possibilities of particles behaving unusually at a black hole’s event horizon.
Though so far it has not been possible to create a true black hole in a lab, researchers have used sound waves to make “dumb” or acoustic black holes since 2009. In 2015, Jeff Steinhauer, a physicist at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, who has been working on these black holes for the past seven years, is the first researcher to claim to have seen Hawking radiation in his lab-made, analogue black hole.
On March 11, 2011, a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, sending it into nuclear meltdown and releasing radioactive material. Residents within a 20-kilometer radius were evacuated the next day, and those living within 30 kilometers were advised to stay indoors as concerns over radiation exposure and cancer grew.