The Looser a State’s Gun Laws, the More Mass Shootings It Has

It happened again. This time, gunmen in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, murdered 31 people and injured at least 50 more in separate mass shooting attacks within 13 hours of each other Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was, in many ways, just another weekend in America, the only nation in the developed world where horrific gun massacres regularly occur. Though nothing new, the frequency of such public mass shootings appears to have accelerated over the past five years, along with larger and more tragic death tolls. According to one recent analysis by The Washington Post, a mass shooting event has claimed the lives of four or more people every 47 days since June 2015. In the mid-’90s, such …

Water Bears Crash Onto the Moon, Cloudflare Ditches 8Chan, and More News

A crashed lunar lander left dehydrated water bears stuck on the moon, Cloudflare has ditched 8chan following this weekend's shootings, and electric cars enter the used car market. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today's Headlines The crashed Israeli lunar lander spilled tardigrades on the moon Tardigrades, or water bears, are known for being basically indestructible. These tiny creatures can survive boiling and freezing temperatures, human-killing levels of radiation, and can go without food and water for years. But can they survive in space? After a lunar lander crashed into the moon on April 11, thousands of dehydrated water bears …

Motor neurone disease researchers find link to microbes in gut

Study could eventually lead to new treatments for neurodegenerative condition Scientists have found tantalising clues that the devastating condition motor neurone disease may be linked to changes in microbes that live in the gut. Studies in mice revealed that animals bred to develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of the disease that affected microbiome to the neurodegenerative illness, the work raises the possibility of new treatments for the condition. Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel began by showing that mice with a mutation common in ALS patients fared much worse when their gut microbes were all but wiped out with strong antibiotics. The finding suggested that somehow, microbes in the animals guts were involved in …

Robots Alone Can’t Solve Amazon’s Labor Woes

Today is Prime Day, that time of year when shoppers swarm Amazon’s discounted digital shelves. A few days later all that stuff will show up at your door, as if by capitalistic magic. But it’s not magic—it’s the product of an army of human packers in warehouses. And some of those workers are angry. Amazon warehouse employees in Minnesota plan on striking today, demanding better working conditions and less intense productivity quotas. In a photo published by Bloomberg last week, the workers held a sign reading: “We Are Humans, Not Robots!” Which brings us to an uncomfortable idea in this new era of robotic automation: If human workers are working like robots, why can’t they just be robots? Can’t Amazon …

Trees Emit a Surprisingly Large Amount of Methane

This story originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There are many mysteries in the Amazon. Until recently, one of the most troubling was the vast methane emissions emerging from the rainforest that were observed by satellites but that nobody could find on the ground. Around 20 million tons was simply unaccounted for. Then Sunitha Pangala, a British postdoc researcher, spent two months traveling the Amazon’s waterways strapping gas-measuring equipment to thousands of trees. She found that trees, especially in the extensive flooded forests, were stimulating methane production in the waterlogged soils and mainlining it into the atmosphere. Her 2014 expedition plugged a gaping hole in the planet’s methane budget. And she had …

A Rocket-Launching Plane, Nintendo’s New Switch, and More News

Virgin Orbit is dropping rockets out of a Boeing 747, Nintendo is switching up the Switch, and a new design could make the middle plane seat tolerable. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today's Headlines Virgin Orbit just dropped a rocket from a Boeing 747 Why launch rockets from the ground, when you could launch them with a head start from a plane? That's the thinking behind Virgin Orbit's plan to reduce the cost of getting into space by starting the rocket launch from 35,000 feet. Today's test focused on the rocket's free fall when released from a gutted Boeing …

24-Year-Old Biochemist Wins Miss Virginia Title After Doing A Science Experiment As Her Talent

24-year-old biochemist Camille Schrier was crowned the new Miss Virginia recently, after showcasing her talents onstage in the form of a science experiment. Virginia beauty pageant contestant Camille Schrier showed a rather unusual talent for these kinds of shows Image credits: “Elephant Toothpaste” reaction. Rick Myers / Miss Virginia Ms. Schrier said that it was the recent overhaul to the competition, which now places greater value on true talents and social impact over appearance, that encouraged her to enter the pageant circuit again. “The evolution of the Miss America competition, which reflects greater inclusiveness, and an opportunity to make a difference and win scholarships inspired me to step forward this year and compete,” she told  Image credits: She won not …

We Need a Data-Rich Picture of What’s Killing the Planet

You’ve probably heard about the plague of plastic trash in the oceans. You’ve seen YouTube videos of sea turtles with drinking straws in their noses, or whales with stomachs full of marine litter. But how much plastic is out there? Where is it coming from? We don’t really know, because we haven’t measured it. “There’s a paucity of data,” says Marcus Eriksen, cofounder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit focused on ending plastic pollution. Clive Thompson Why Software Needs to Escape from San Francisco Cheryl Katz The World's Recycling Is in Chaos. Here's What Has to Happen Matt Simon Humans Made This Planet Hell. Hopefully We Can Help Some Species Adapt Marine litter isn’t the only hazard whose contours …

Apollo 11: Mission Out of Control

For the next three minutes, the cratered lunar landscape grew closer, until, at around 46,000 feet, Armstrong rotated the vehicle, pointing the landing radar toward the surface while the astronauts turned to face Earth. The moon’s gravity is irregular, and to account for this, the astronauts had to take new measurements. With the void outside his window, Aldrin punched in a request to compare the lander’s calculated position with the reading from the radar. He was answered by a klaxon ringing in his earpiece. Aldrin hurriedly keyed in the two-digit code 5-9-Enter, which translated, roughly, as “display alarm.” The console responded with error code “1202.” Despite his months of simulations, Aldrin didn’t know what this one meant; Armstrong, equally baffled, …

Fear, Misinformation, and Measles Spread in Brooklyn

By then, however, “the bomb had gone off,” Arroyo says. Measles is considered one of the most contagious diseases in existence. If a person with measles walks through a room with a hundred people who are not immunized, up to 90 of them will get the disease. The virus is spread through coughs and sneezes and lingers in the air for up to two hours. Some 122,000 ­people come through the Maimonides emergency room every year. The hospital, located in Borough Park, serves one of the most diverse patient populations in the country, from ultra-Orthodox Jews to immigrants whose first language might be Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, or Uzbek. Many are working-class cab drivers, manual laborers, and restaurant workers …

Missouri may lose its last abortion clinic this week. That’s dark news for us all | Jill Filipovic

Anti-abortion activists know that you dont need to outlaw abortion outright if you can make getting a safe, legal one nearly impossible By the end of the week, One study on admitting privileges for physicians at abortion clinics found that they made no difference for patients receiving care. But they do make it harder for doctors to offer that care. Missouri also requires doctors to perform invasive and unnecessary pelvic exams before they can prescribe women abortion-inducing medication. A pelvic exam is not the standard of care for prescribing this medicine, and is simply another barrier erected to make abortion more difficult, expensive and, in this case, physically invasive. Consider this: The state of Missouri requires that women have their …

A Rocket Built by Students Reached Space for the First Time

In the early morning of April 21, 10 students from the University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Lab piled into the back of a pickup truck with a 13-foot rocket wedged between them and drove down a dusty dirt road to a launchpad near Spaceport America, in southern New Mexico. When they arrived, their teammates helped them lift the 300-pound rocket onto a launch rail. Dennis Smalling, the rocket lab’s chief engineer, began the countdown at 7:30 am. When he reached zero, Traveler IV shot up off its launchpad, exhaust and flames pouring from its tail. The USC team is one of several groups of college students across the United States and Europe that have been racing to send a …

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

This planet has a problem with plastic. Not just the big masses of it accumulating in the Pacific, but with the tiny bits that are blowing into pristine mountaintop habitats. The flecks showing up in a range of sea creatures. The specks materializing even in human feces. Now scientists have exposed a potential new consequence of the plastic menace: The toxins the material leaches into seawater inhibit the growth and photosynthetic efficiency of the bacteria Prochlorococcus, which is responsible for producing an estimated 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe. That means Prochlorococcus is also responsible for 20 percent of carbon capture on this planet (one molecule of carbon goes in, one molecule of oxygen goes out), theoretically spelling trouble …

The media is failing on climate change here’s how they can do better ahead of 2020

We spoke to climate change experts for advice on how news outlets can cover the environment in ways that make voters listen America elected Donald Trump at the end of the hottest year Democratic National Committee to host a debate solely focused on climate. Bernie Sanders raised the issue during his town hall on Fox News earlier this month and even town halls last week. In the run-up to 2020, as newsroom leaders grapple with their mistakes in the 2016 election from reliance on inaccurate polls to underestimating the impact of fake news the failure to press candidates on climate change is emerging as an area of self-examination. In 2016 there were almost no questions asked , which is insane, …