The Daily Dose: America deploys its first Space Force troops.

South Asia continues to be a major driver of COVID-19 cases globally and the pace only appears to be increasing. Per the Associated Press, “India edged closer to recording nearly 100,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours as it ordered retesting of many people whose first results were from the less reliable rapid antigen tests being widely used. There were a total of 96,551 confirmed cases, taking the tally to over 4.56 million. The Health Ministry on Friday also reported another 1,209 deaths for a total of 76,271.” The country trails only the United States in terms of overall infections.

Africa continues to straddle the line between managing COVID-19 and plunging into United States-style chaos. According to Al-Jazeera, “As of September 10, the confirmed coronavirus death toll on the continent stood at 32,117, with deaths including the former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango, and Somalia’s former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein… There are 1,330,038 confirmed infections and 1,068,493 recoveries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.” Public Health officials are openly worrying about how long underfunded healthcare systems can manage the COVID-19 load.

Cold plasma (CP) has emerged as a novel, efficient, and clean solution for combating viral infections via inactivation. We present recent developments in this promising field of CP-mediated virus inactivation, and describe the applications and mechanisms of the inactivation. According to a recent review in Current Trends in Biotechnology, “CP can be used as an environmentally friendly tool for virus inactivation. It can inactivate different human, animal, and plant viruses in various matrices. When using CP for virus inactivation it is important to set the correct parameters and to choose treatment durations that allow particles to interact with the contaminated material.” Considering the times, novel routes that are at least promising is welcome news.

Shifting to the great beyond, the United States continues to forge forward with the world’s first official outer space military. Per Futurism, “The US Space Force just deployed its first troops — not to space, but to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar… Twenty airmen assigned to the 16th Expeditionary Space Control Flight and the 609th Air Operations Center at the base joined the US military’s newest independent arm of service during a ceremony held on September 1, according to a statement.” With the superpower’s bungled COVID-19 response, they’re leading the way in militarizing outer space. Whatever that’s worth. (Did you expect anything different?)

Speaking of leading the way, SETI has been at the forefront of the search for extraterrestrial life for decades. They’ve done so on an uncertain shoestring budget. Now, it appears the organization is receiving better funding. “Breakthrough Listen, the $100 million, 10-year, privately funded SETI effort Siemion leads, is lifting a field that has for decades relied on sporadic philanthropic handouts. Prior to Breakthrough Listen, SETI was ‘creeping along” with a few dozen hours of telescope time a year, Siemion says; now it gets thousands. It’s like “sitting in a Formula 1 racing car,” he says. The new funds have also been ‘a huge catalyst’ for training scientists in SETI, says Jason Wright, director of the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center, which opened this year. ‘They really are nurturing a community.’” With the worry of whether they’ll have operating funds temporarily out of the way, the organization can focus its undivided attention beyond the clouds.

Thanks for reading. It’s September 11th. Let’s be careful out there.

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