The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has spread to a city of nearly 1 million residents. There are now 30 confirmed cases and 15 deaths in the city of Butembo reported in the latest update provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). The number of cases in the city center is still low, according to Doctors Without Borders, but that number is rising quickly in more outlying districts and suburbs. The outbreak, which has been going on since August, has so far resulted in 467 confirmed cases and a further 48 probable cases. More than half of the cases have resulted in death (including those of 17 health workers), while 177 patients have recovered, including a newborn baby. Limited containment The rate of transmission is beginning to slow down in Beni, a smaller city approximately 36 miles north of Butembo that has the highest number of reported cases so far. But “the outbreak is intensifying in Butembo and Katwa,” writes the WHO, “and new … [Read more...] about Ebola outbreak reaches city of 1 million residents
THE EVOLUTION of language converted a defenceless naked ape into a world-dominating force. It fundamentally transformed how humans transmit information and knowledge. A large and potent component of language is our ability to communicate about things that are not here, that happened in the past, or that will happen in the future. This feature of language is known as "displaced reference". Displaced reference is universal across the world’s languages and pervades our daily lives. In fact, to speak about the present moment has become a rarity nowadays, though noticeable exceptions are when we comment about the weather, ask for the salt over the dinner table, or talk with very young children. Displaced reference unshackles speakers from the present. The magnitude of information that becomes available to individuals (or species) capable of displaced reference is therefore immeasurably greater than individuals (or species) strictly living in “the here and the now” – … [Read more...] about Great Apes smarter than we thought as science proves orangutans ‘talk about the PAST’
Suppose you traveled back in time—say 40,000 years into the past—and then you got stuck. What would you do? How would you rebuild all the stuff that you like? That's the premise of the book How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler, by Ryan North. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, it gives you the general idea of how things like an electric motor or wifi work. The book is sort of like a cross between my favorite Youtube channel, Primitive Technology, and the comic xkcd. It's both interesting and funny. Now for some physics. One of the things that's sort of awesome about this book is that the author makes these interesting connections. My favorite has to do with navigating. I mean, if you are stuck in the past you might actually want to travel. But you won't have your smartphone with you. Even if you did bring your phone, you wouldn't have GPS satellites to help you locate your position. You'd need to use your own navigation … [Read more...] about No GPS? A DIY Radio Transmitter Can Help You Navigate
Welcome to Edition 1.29 of the Rocket Report! This week, we send our hearty congratulations to Virgin Galactic, which reached an important milestone Thursday with its first flight above 80km. We also have some good news on the commercial crew front, with multiple flights looking promising for 2019. As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. Virgin flies into space (probably). With Mark "Forger" Stucky and C.J Sturckow piloting the vehicle, the VSS Unity vehicle was dropped from its White Knight Two carrier aircraft on Thursday before burning its rocket motor. During that 60-second burn, it reached a velocity of Mach 2.9 and soared to an altitude of 82.68km. These were records for the company, … [Read more...] about Rocket Report: Virgin soars, Falcon Heavy cores on the go, Astra failure
Science fiction has promised us a whole lot of technology that it’s rudely failed to deliver—jetpacks, flying cars, teleportation. The most useful one might be the robot companion, à la Rosie from The Jetsons, a machine that watches over the home. It seemed like 2018 was going to be the year when robots made a big leap in that direction. Two machines in particular surfaced to much fanfare: Kuri, an adorable R2D2 analog that can follow you around and take pictures of your dinner parties, and Jibo, a desktop robot with a screen for a face that works a bit like Alexa, only it can dance. But then, as quickly as the home robots came, they disappeared. In July, the maker of Kuri, Mayfield Robotics, said it was ceasing production of the robot, and a month later it announced it was ceasing its existence as a company altogether. In November, Jibo shuttered as well. In the spring, yet another company that was exploring home robots, TickTock, called it quits. LEARN MORE The … [Read more...] about Sci-Fi Promised Us Home Robots. So Where Are They?