Science & Technology
Last week, NASA announced its scientists had found “surprising activity” on Jupiter’s moon Europa. And, just like you’d expect, the space-dork corner of the Internet whipped itself into a frenzy. Because that kind of vague statement can only mean they found aliens, right? Well, not really. But some people are still convinced, even after NASA tried to walk back its blatant nerd-baiting by tweeting that it was definitely not aliens.
A new world record for quantum teleportation has been set, bringing quantum communication networks that can stretch between cities a step closer. Two independent teams have transferred quantum information over several kilometres of fibre optic networks.
Being able to establish teleportation over long distances is a crucial step towards exchanging quantum cryptographic keys needed for encoding data sent over the fibres.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese officials appear to have confirmed what many observers have long suspected: that China is no longer in control of its space station.
China's Tiangong-1 space station has been orbiting the planet for about 5 years now, but recently it was decommissioned and the Chinese astronauts returned to the surface. In a press conference last week, China announced that the space station would be falling back to earth at some point in late 2017.
Anyone who’s lived in a smoggy city would likely welcome the idea of using widely dispersed air filters to soak up all those toxic tidbits floating around—unless, of course, those filters were functioning human brains.
It’s good news for those equally at home on a treadmill or at a bar. Regular exercise seems to cancel out some of the risk of death that is linked to alcohol.
High alcohol intake is associated with fatal heart disease, stroke, and at least seven types of cancer.
An analysis of people over the age of 40 has found that people who do the recommended amount of physical activity a week – 150 minutes of aerobic exercising – but drink more than the UK weekly recommended limit are less likely to die than people who drink the same amount but exercise less.
There’s finally some progress in the fight against Zika. A vaccine is being given to 160 people in Zika-hit Puerto Rico, and a preliminary study has identified two existing drugs that seem to protect human brain cells from the virus.
The vaccine, developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, contains a synthetic DNA fragment similar to one in the virus itself. The company hopes that people who receive it will develop immune protection against Zika.
This weekend, a group of astronomers made many, many headlines after giving a presentation about “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595.” HD164595 is a Sun-like star 94 light-years away, and with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, pointed in its direction, the astronomers picked up a blast of radio waves about 4.5 times stronger than background static. Maybe aliens? they suggested. We should investigate.
The Defense Department for the second year in a row sent one of its top directors to DEF CON in Las Vegas this month, but it wasn’t for recruiting purposes.
So what was Frank DiGiovanni, director of force training in DoD’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, doing at DEF CON? “My purpose was to really learn from people who come to DEF CON … Who are they? How do I understand who they are? What motivates them? What sort of attributes” are valuable to the field, the former Air Force officer and pilot who heads overall training policy for the military, says.
It remains only the barest of probabilities that astronomers have just found evidence of extraterrestrial, intelligent life. Nevertheless, in the community of astronomers and other scientists who use radio telescopes to search the heavens for beacons of life there is considerable excitement about a new signal observed by a facility in Russia.
China has launched the world's first satellite dedicated to testing the fundamentals of quantum communication in space. The $100m Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) mission was launched today from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northern China at 01:40 local time. For the next two years, the craft – also named "Micius" after the ancient Chinese philosopher – will demonstrate the feasibility of quantum communication between Earth and space, and test quantum entanglement over unprecedented distances.