Science

People first drove on the Moon 50 years ago today

NASA just celebrated another major moment in the history of Moon exploration. The New York Times noted that July 31st, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Roving Vehicle’s first outing — and the first time people drove on the Moon. Apollo 15 astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin took the car on a …

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H.G. Wells’ “World Brain” is now here—what have we learned since?

Enlarge Between November 1936 and November 1937, H.G. Wells gave a series of lectures in Great Britain, France, and the US about the world’s impending problems and how to solve them. The lectures were first published under the title “World Brain” in 1938, and they’re sweeping in scope. Wells argued for rearranging both education and the …

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US watchdog rejects Blue Origin’s protest of NASA lunar lander contract

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed protests from Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics over NASA’s decision to hand out a single $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX as part of its Human Landing System program. On Friday, the watchdog said NASA’s “evaluation of all three proposals was reasonable and consistent with applicable procurement …

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Evolutionary chaos as butterflies, wasps, and viruses have a three-way war

Enlarge iStock / Getty Images We’re currently watching—often in horror—what happens as a virus and its hosts engage in an evolutionary arms race. Measures to limit infectivity and enhance immunity are selecting for viral strains that spread more readily and avoid at least some of the immune response. All of that is easily explained through …

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This 3D-printed soft robotic hand beat the first level of Super Mario Bros.

A team led by University of Maryland mechanical engineering Professor Ryan Sochol has created a soft robotic hand agile enough to manipulate a game controller. A team of engineers at the University of Maryland has built a three-fingered soft robotic hand that is sufficiently agile to be able to manipulate the buttons and directional pad …

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Missouri AG wages war on masks as state blazes with delta cases

Enlarge / Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General. Getty | Bloomberg Missouri has been one of the hardest-hit states so far in these early days of a delta-fueled COVID-19 surge. Cases increased nearly 500 percent since the start of July, while vaccinations stalled. Right now, with just 41 percent of the state fully vaccinated, 112 of the …

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Mergers, twists, and pentagons: the architecture of honeycombs

Enlarge Bees manage some impressive feats. They not only remember the location of good food sources, but they’re able to communicate this information to their peers. They also care for the hive’s young and organize attacks against intruders. They’re brilliant at construction, too. Almost every honeycomb in a hive is a perfect hexagon, with each …

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CDC mask reversal: Vaccinated should wear masks in many settings amid surge

Enlarge / Self-sewn protective face masks in a fabric store on April 3, 2020, in Jena, Germany. Getty | Jens Schlueter Fully vaccinated Americans should go back to masking up in schools and areas of high or substantial COVID-19 transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. The CDC says its stark reversal …

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COVID surge in unvaccinated is pushing US to more mandates, masks, mitigation

Enlarge / People shop at a grocery store enforcing the wearing of masks in Los Angeles on July 23, 2021. Getty | Chris Delmas The ongoing COVID-19 surge among unvaccinated people is pushing the US toward more vaccine mandates, renewed mask use, and other mitigation efforts. With around 51 percent of the country not fully …

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