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DO SVIDANIYA, ISS.
In news that should actually surprise no one, Russia has decided to pack its space bags and say goodbye to the laboratory currently orbiting earth. Per the Associated Press, “Russia will opt out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost, the country’s newly appointed space chief said Tuesday. Yuri Borisov, who was appointed earlier this month to lead the state-controlled space corporation Roscosmos, said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia will fulfill its obligations to other partners at the International Space Station before it leaves the project. ‘The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,’ Borisov said.” Yet another victim of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. We kinda hoped they’d stick with it, proving that even with tensions down on the planet, space provided an opportunity for apolitical cooperation. So much for that. https://bit.ly/3z5ZKWR
NI HAO TIANGONG.
In further proof that space will be as politically fragmented as it is here on earth, China continues to add pieces to its nearly completed space station. Per the Associated Press, “China added a laboratory to its permanent orbiting space station Monday as it moves toward completing the structure in coming months. The Wentian laboratory was launched from the Wenchang space base on the tropical island province of Hainan on Sunday with a large crowd of amateur photographers and space enthusiasts watching. After 13 hours of flight, it successfully docked with the Tianhe living area of the Tiangong space station at 3:13 a.m. Monday (1913 GMT), according to the China Manned Space Agency. Photos distributed by Xinhua News Agency later showed the three astronauts inside the expanded space station.” It’s pretty safe to assume there will be a Russian presence on the Tiangong. https://bit.ly/3OB4sBu
COVID-19 STRIKES AGAIN.
The damage the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought on society continues to unfold as the world trudges from one phase of the global outbreak to the next. Childhood vaccinations have seen significant declines during the past year and a half. Per Nature, “Data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF show that the percentage of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP3) decreased by 5 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, to 81% worldwide (see ‘Childhood immunizations decline’). DTP3 is considered to be a marker of vaccine coverage; if children miss these jabs, they’re probably also missing out on crucial vaccinations for many other diseases.” This is a disturbing trend, particularly because it is self-inflicted. According to experts, if vaccinations continue at current levels, deaths from preventable diseases will skyrocket. https://bit.ly/3OB4sBu
MYSTERIOUS HEPATITIS OUTBREAK STILL A MYSTERY… FOR NOW.
Scientists appear to be getting closer to identifying the cause of a mysterious severe hepatitis outbreak among children around the world. At first, it was believed that adenovirus infections were the cause but actual proof was found wanting. Now, researchers are zeroing in on another virus. Per Science, “In two independent, preliminary studies, U.K. researchers found high levels of adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) in the blood or liver cells of all but one of 25 children with unexplained hepatitis. In a group of children without this condition, almost none had AAV2, even those with adenovirus. In addition, the young hepatitis patients with AAV2 were much likelier to have a genetic mutation that may make their immune systems overreact to a viral infection.” Severe hepatitis in children is rare and often goes unexplained. https://bit.ly/3Oz77fe
AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE.
Scientists in England have made a stunning discovery. The BBC are reporting: “A fossil representing the earliest known animal predator has been identified by UK scientists. The 560-million-year-old specimen, which was found in Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire, is likely a forerunner of cnidaria – the group of species that today includes jellyfish. The researchers have named it Auroralumina attenboroughii in honour of Sir David Attenborough. The first part of the name recalls the Latin for ‘dawn lantern’.” It’s amazing how some evolutionary timelines continue to get pushed further back, complicating an already complicated picture of how life evolved on our planet. https://bbc.in/3PYUCL8
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
IMAGE CREDIT: NASA/Crew-2.