DAILY DOSE: NASA loses a satellite; British scientists lose 115 grants from E.U.


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NASA has lost communication with the small satellite that launched as part of a test to see whether the costs of traveling to the moon could be minimized. According to the Associated Press, “NASA said Tuesday it has lost contact with a $32.7 million spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit, but agency engineers are hopeful they can fix the problem. After one successful communication and a second partial one on Monday, the space agency said it could no longer communicate with the spacecraft called Capstone. Engineers are trying to find the cause of the communications drop-off and are optimistic they can fix it, NASA spokesperson Sarah Frazier said Tuesday. The spacecraft, which launched from New Zealand on June 28, had spent nearly a week in Earth orbit and had been successfully kick-started on its way to the moon, when contact was lost, Frazier said.” The good thing is that it was a communication thing and nothing to do with launching the satellite toward the moon. https://bit.ly/3bXUaOx


If you think Brexit was over and done with, think again. British science has been knee-capped by the European Union. According to the Guardian, “British scientists and academic researchers have been dealt a blow after 115 grants from a flagship EU research programme were terminated because of the continuing Brexit row over Northern Ireland. One academic said he was ‘relieved’ to be exiting the country and feared the UK was going down a ‘dark path’ like Germany in the 1930s. One hundred and fifty grants were approved for British applicants after the then Brexit minister, David Frost, successfully negotiated associate membership of the £80bn Horizon Europe programme but most will now be cancelled. Beneficiaries in the UK were told by the European Research Council (ERC) that unless associate membership had been approved by 29 June, the grants would not be available unless the researchers moved their work to a European institution.” Can’t say the U.K. wasn’t warned. https://bit.ly/3yhXECV


Crash deaths around the world appear to be trending upward. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “The number of crash deaths from 2015 to 2019 decreased in 21 countries and increased in seven countries (Table 1). Percent changes ranged from a 27.5% decrease in South Korea to an 11.8% increase in Denmark; the average change was −8.1%. The United States experienced a 2.5% increase (from 35,484 deaths in 2015 to 36,355 deaths in 2019). In 2019, crash deaths per 100,000 population for all 29 countries ranged from a low of 2.0 (Norway) to a high of 11.1 (United States). The U.S. rate was 2.3 times the average rate of the other countries (4.8). The population-based death rate decreased from 2015 to 2019 in 22 countries and increased in six countries (Figure). The United States experienced a nominal 0.1% increase from 2015 to 2019, whereas the average percent change for the 27 other high-income countries was −10.4%.” https://bit.ly/3IhdZfD


Apex predators have that name for a reason. They’re the top dog in their habitat. The Kings and Queens. Unfortunately, that doesn’t count humans and when we encroach on their territory, bad things can happen to them. A recent study the Proceedings of the Royal Society B investigated the effects human settlement has on them. According to the authors, “We demonstrate that leopard–dhole co-occupancy probability was higher in areas with higher human settlement density. The opposite was true for tiger–leopard co-occupancy probability, but it was positively affected by large prey (gaur) abundance. These findings suggest that multi-carnivore communities across land-use gradients are spatially structured and mediated also by human presence and/or the availability of natural prey. Our findings show that space-use patterns are driven by a combination of the behavioural mechanism of each species and its interactions with competing species. The duality of the effect of settlement density on species interactions suggests that the benefits of exploiting anthropogenic environments are a trade-off between ecological opportunity (food subsidies or easy prey) and the risk of escalating conflict with humans.” https://bit.ly/3bN5OLL

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


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