Happy birthday to a real trailblazer: Alan Shepard. Three weeks after the Soviet Union stunned the world by sending the first human into space, Shepard took America into space with a mission titled Freedom 7, flying for a little over 15 minutes in space. Shepard's journey tested crucial aspects of future journeys, like attitude control systems, and he was able to photograph the Earth from space. Not bad for a first time!
Also, did you hear that toilet paper is once again in short supply? It's a perfectly natural reaction. In fact, there are 11 psychological factors that make us hoard TP in times of trouble.
Our question of the week is a big one: how is Covid-19 affecting your holiday plans? While political opinions on Covid divide the nation, pretty much everyone hoped it would be over by now, one way or another. Tell us how you're adjusting to make this year work for you and we'll publish our favorite responses at the end of the week. Respond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, on with the Daily...
Today on The Abstract — Brain health: The surprising new links between nutrition and health
If you’re feeling extra tired, moody, depressed, or confused these days — you’re a person with a pulse living in the year 2020. However, science says there is something that can help improve our mood: changing what we eat.
New research suggests when you eat and drink can also be critical. Not to depress you any further, but that “liquid life” in your coveted morning cup of joe? You may have been drinking it wrong this entire time.
In this episode of The Abstract, we discuss how what we eat and drink can keep our brains sane and our bodies running healthy.
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Mission: Possible — SpaceX Crew Dragon: Tom Cruise and others expected to fly in space capsule
The Crew Dragon has, for the first time, sent people into space as part of a non-test mission — and its developer, SpaceX, has big plans for more missions, including sending up private citizens.
The "Crew-1" mission launched on Sunday, November 15 at 7:27 p.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Falcon 9 rocket sent up a Crew Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, plus Soichi Noguchi from Japanese space agency JAXA.
But SpaceX and NASA are not stopping there. The capsule was designed to regularly transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, with more missions planned for 2021. Here's what's coming next.
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How green is my president — Biden: early signs show green team of industry insiders and old friends
Although he has repeatedly kept the Green New Deal at arm’s length in debates and speeches, President-elect Joe Biden’s website continues to call the Green New Deal a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”
What does it mean to call something “crucial” on a website but reject it over and over again? Climate activists like Varshini Prakash, the founder of Sunrise Movement, told CBS News that Biden’s policies could make a “seismic shift in climate policy at the federal level.”
In other words, if Biden won’t work toward the legislation that makes up climate activist dreams (like a ban on fracking), his administration could make headway through the wide-ranging bureaucratic forces that the executive branch of the government commands.
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Eat this, not that — The optimal diet for longevity comes down to this critical factor
What we eat has the potential to either increase or decrease our lifespan. But aside from this essential truth, how to eat to our best advantage is up for debate.
In a study released Monday, researchers offer some clues and pose new questions. They argue human mortality is largely influenced by a balance of macronutrients — with the stipulation that the makeup of this balance should change across lifespans.
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Coming soon ...
Stellar mergers are like business mergers, except they involve giant galaxies colliding in a cosmic car crash instead of the stock market. They're common enough in binary star systems, but coming later this week on Inverse, scientists have discovered a mysteriously rare stellar merger that will take your breath away.
Baby pictures — Scientists captured the birth of a magnetar for the first time
On May 22, the Hubble Space Telescope detected a gamma-ray burst that produced more energy in a half-second than the Sun will produce over its entire 10-billion-year lifetime. Gamma ray bursts are high-energy explosions, the brightest and most energetic of all electromagnetic events that take place across the cosmos.
Magnetars are the most magnetic stars in the universe, a type of neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field. They are known to erupt without warning before their light dims and disappears. The light from the gamma ray-burst that reached Earth was the first time the birth of these elusive stars was observed.
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Nature is in crisis. According to the United Nations, from 2015 through 2020, the rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, or 38,610 square miles, per year. That amounts to a little over 193,000 square miles of forest destroyed in five years, larger than the entire state of California.
That destruction, mostly in the name of agriculture, has wreaked havoc on animal habitats. As the UN’s “State of the World’s Forest” 2020 report notes, it is not just trees that make up forests, “but the many different species of plants and animals” as well.
But we humans can use our greatest asset — the ability to innovate — to try to tackle the problem we have created. And one of the most promising ways to do this may be to re-engineer the wild.
These three inventions show that, by both recreating and improving upon nature within human-affected habitats, humans could make the natural world more livable for the animals within it.
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And if that's not enough, make sure to check out the underrated dystopian movie finally getting play in America.
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