DAILY DOSE: Yes! to more mushroom farms to save the world but… can we keep away from the cordyceps, please?

It’s easy to get spoiled into thinking everything humans try to launch into space makes it safe and sound. Success does that. That’s why the failure of a recent attempt at sending up a very special type of projectile is interesting. It’s an exception. Per the Associated Press,

A rocket made almost entirely of 3D-printed parts made its launch debut Wednesday night, lifting off amid fanfare but failing three minutes into flight — far short of orbit.

There was nothing aboard Relativity Space’s test flight except for the company’s first metal 3D print made six years ago.

The startup wanted to put the souvenir into a 125-mile-high (200-kilometer-high) orbit for several days before having it plunge through the atmosphere and burn up along with the upper stage of the rocket.

As it turned out, the first stage did its job following liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and separated as planned. But the upper stage appeared to ignite and then shut down, sending it crashing into the Atlantic.

It was the third launch attempt from what once was a missile site. Relativity Space came within a half-second of blasting off earlier this month, with the rocket’s engines igniting before abruptly shutting down.

No doubt the next attempt will hit its mark. http://bit.ly/3Z5MufH

Food production has been a growing problem for some time now. With the world’s population growing more food is needed. Unfortunately, the space needed to grow our food on this planet is finite. The concurrent growth of cities doesn’t make things any easier. A recent paper makes a proposal. Grow more mushrooms. According to the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,

Demand for agricultural land is a potent accelerating driver of global deforestation, presenting multiple interacting issues at different spatiotemporal scales. Here we show that inoculating the root system of tree planting stock with edible ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) can reduce the food-forestry land-use conflict, enabling appropriately managed forestry plantations to contribute to protein and calorie production and potentially increasing carbon sequestration. Although, when compared to other food groups, we show that EMF cultivation is inefficient in terms of land use with a needed area of ~668 m2 y kg−1 protein, the additional benefits are vast. Depending on the habitat type and tree age, greenhouse gas emissions may range from −858 to 526 kg CO2-eq kg−1 protein and the sequestration potential stands in stark contrast to nine other major food groups. Further, we calculate the missed food production opportunity of not incorporating EMF cultivation into current forestry activities, an approach that could enhance food security for millions of people. Given the additional biodiversity, conservational and rural socioeconomic potential, we call for action and development to realize the sustainable benefits of EMF cultivation.

That’s fair enough. But just keep the cordyceps away please. https://bit.ly/3TF6sNb

Climate change has had decided effect on the world’s glaciers, with many of them receding to just about nothing. Unfortunately, people depend on the water that comes from these glaciers for their livelihoods and their food. An article in The Wire India examines how the loss of one glacier in Kashmir is having dramatic impact on communities downstream.

The Kolahoi glacier is the biggest in Kashmir and is the main source of water for the river Jhelum. But a study has shown that the glacier has lost 23% of its area since 1962 and has fragmented into smaller parts. “The snout retreat rates also suggest that the glacier has been in an imbalanced state between 1962 and 2018 and is not approaching equilibrium,” the study noted.

Several studies have suggested that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating rapidly, affecting the water availability downstream. The glacial runoffs from the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges that stretch from Afghanistan to China, also referred to as the Third Pole, feed Asia’s key rivers, which provide water for drinking, irrigation and hydroelectric energy. Over four billion people depend on glacial runoffs from these mountains.

A 2019 study reveals that glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region – which contains the world’s third-largest glacial ice cap and is home to ten major river basins and mountain peaks, such as Mount Everest – could lose more than a third of their volume by the end of the century even if world nations meet their most ambitious climate targets.

Similar impacts of Kolahoi glacier’s retreat trickle downstream. Experts said the glacier recession affects the irrigation of agricultural land.

A more recent study found that the area under agriculture in the river Lidder watershed shrunk by 39%. http://bit.ly/3LGXNrO

The wonders of modern science have yielded some very interesting revelations about the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and his life, including how he may have died. Per the New York Times,

The paper, by an international group of researchers, was published Wednesday in the journal Current Biology.

It offers additional surprises: A famous lock of hair — the subject of a book and a documentary — was not Beethoven’s. It was from an Ashkenazi Jewish woman.

The study also found that Beethoven did not have lead poisoning, as had been widely believed. Nor was he a Black man, as some had proposed.

And a Flemish family in Belgium — who share the last name van Beethoven and had proudly claimed to be related — had no genetic ties to him.

Researchers not associated with the study found it convincing.

It was “a very serious and well-executed study,” said Andaine Seguin-Orlando, an expert in ancient DNA at the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, in France.

Now, if someone can just get to the bottom of the whole Mozart-was-poisoned-by-the-Freemasons theory, that would be fantastic. http://bit.ly/40u5jdD

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

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