What Happens When Epidemiologists are Undermined By Politics?

Earlier this month Slashdot covered the Imperial College in London forecast of “what happens if the U.S. does absolutely nothing to combat COVID-19,” which predicted 2.2 million deaths just in the U.S. and another 510,000 in Great Britain. The paper was co-written by Neil Ferguson, one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, and “launched leaders in both countries into action,” according …

Ask Slashdot: Should the Internet Be A Public Utility?

The pandemic has “proven conclusively that the internet should be a public utility,” argues Quartz. “It’s a basic necessity in the 21st century, like running water, gas, and electricity. Indeed, the United Nations in 2016 declared that internet access is a human right.” Sure, you could theoretically survive without it, just as you might light your home with candles or …

Was Magellan’s Voyage Riskier Than Sending Humans to Mars?

A Portuguese historian argues that Magellan’s famous trip around the world in 1522 was much harder than sending humans to Mars: Tens of guys died making this crossing; of 250 crew, only 18 returned, Henrique Leitao, a historian at the University of Lisbon, told me… [O]nce NASA or other space agencies or private entities actually launch humans on a six …

Black Hole Photo May Also Have Captured Light From Around the Universe

“When you point a telescope at a black hole, it turns out you don’t just see the swirling sizzling doughnut of doom formed by matter falling in,” reports the New York Times. “You can also see the whole universe.” Light from an infinite array of distant stars and galaxies can wrap around the black hole like ribbons around a maypole, …

Could Robots Help Us Fight Infectious Diseases?

In the journal Science Robotics, an international group of robotic experts wrote an editorial arguing COVID-19 “may drive further research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases,” and urging more funding. The Washington Post reports: Robots already have been enlisted in the fight against the virus. In Hong Kong, a fleet of miniature robots disinfects the city’s subways; in …

Ambitious Project Seeks to Re-Create Every Structure on Earth in Minecraft

An anonymous reader quotes Rock, Paper, Shotgun: For as long as there’s been Minecraft, there’s been people who want to re-create the world in Minecraft. For one modder, though, it’s not enough to have a to-scale replica of our pale blue dot recreated in Mojang’s block-builder. A new project named Build The Earth is looking for talented builders with too …

After 5 Years of Construction, ‘Space Fence’ Finally Declared Operational

An anonymous reader quotes Space News: The space surveillance radar site known as the Space Fence is ready for use after five years in construction, the U.S. Space Force announced March 27. The $1.5 billion Space Fence — located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands — is a ground-based radar system that tracks satellites and space …

Is Uranus Losing Its Atmosphere?

Mars was once covered by oceans, but lost its atmosphere over time, according to Gina DiBraccio, a space physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and project scientist for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN mission. Is the same thing happening to Uranus? The magnetic bubble surrounding the giant gas planet may be siphoning its atmosphere off into …

Bay Area Group Pushes $1,000 Universal Basic Income For Everyone

“Gisele Huff is convinced universal basic income is finally having its moment,” reports the Bay Area newsgroup, describing the 84-year-old president of a nonprofit promoting universal basic incomes to honor their recently-deceased son, a Tesla software engineer: While Huff’s organization is only a few years old, it has already made its mark in the Bay Area. Santa Clara County’s Board …