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The Daily Dose: Healthcare workers in Japan are freaking out about COVID-19; A mysterious signal from Proxima Centauri.

Healthcare workers in Japan are beginning to get really anxious about rising COVID-19 numbers. Per the Nippon Times, “National associations of doctors, nurses and seven other medical groups in Japan declared a state of medical emergency on Monday, urging the government to support the nation’s medical system creaking under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.” While the country’s numbers are nowhere near that of the United States or India, the spike in numbers can potentially threaten hospital infrastructure due to light holiday staffing.

China continues its busy space travel year. The Chinese space agency is inching closer to developing a reusable rocket of their own. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, “The Long March-8 rocket’s maiden flight, carrying five satellites into space, came five days after the return of the Chang’e 5 mission from the moon. A future variant of the new rocket, the Long March-8R, will be reusable, putting it on a par with the Falcon series made by American aerospace company SpaceX.” An exploration spacecraft bound for Mars is expected to land on the planet in February.

A mysterious radio signal has been identified emanating from Proxima Centauri, the closes galaxy to our own. After confirming that it did not originate in a human-made structure currently in space, scientists have taken the signal much more seriously. Per Scientific American, “Most curiously, it occupies a very narrow band of the radio spectrum: 982 megahertz, specifically, which is a region typically bereft of transmissions from human-made satellites and spacecraft. ‘We don’t know of any natural way to compress electromagnetic energy into a single bin in frequency’ such as this one, Siemion says. Perhaps, he says, some as-yet-unknown exotic quirk of plasma physics could be a natural explanation for the tantalizingly concentrated radio waves. But ‘for the moment, the only source that we know of is technological.’” When it comes to proving we’re not alone in the universe, this data is tantalizingly scientific (as opposed to wild speculation and anecdotal evidence).

Mosquitoes are annoying. Not only that, they can be deadly. People— from scientists to citizens— have explored ways of killing them for some time. One method involves releasing bioengineered mosquitoes unable to spawn viable eggs. When they mate with wild mosquitoes, it’s game over. Unfortunately, they are indiscernible from non-engineered ones. One woman in Singapore went on a mosquito-killing binge, storing each insect she killed in tiny plastic bags. “As it turns out, the woman — who recently made headlines for killing 323 mosquitoes in one month and collecting their carcasses in meticulously-labelled Ziploc bags — may have killed dengue-fighting Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes, according to a statement by the National Environmental Agency (NEA),” reports Asia One. It’s like the public health equivalent of those well-meaning but artistically-challenged citizens to who take it upon themselves to “fix” old fading frescoes.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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