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A New Idea for How to Assemble Life
Is this article about Aerospace?
How would scientists even recognize biological signs of life beyond Earth? Assembly theory proposes a way to identify molecules made by living systems—even those using unfamiliar chemistries.
I have never wanted children – and don’t think I will change my mind
My partner, however, always assumed that one day he would be a dad

I didn’t become a childfree woman. I was born childfree, much like everyone else, then I simply stayed that way. There was no need to go through a future-mother phase to know that in my home there would be no chirpy children’s laughter or tippety-tap of bare toddler feet.

Poor David then, my partner. He most definitely was in his future-father phase when we met, aged 20, 21.

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Scientific Reports, Published online: 13 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-39623-3

Similarities and differences in the functional architecture of mother- infant communication in rhesus macaque and 

Scientific Reports, Published online: 13 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-39653-x

The association between dietary pattern and visceral adiposity index, triglyceride-glucose index, inflammation, and body composition among Iranian overweight and obese women
Why lasers could help make the electric grid greener
Researchers say that advanced transmission technologies could help the existing grid work better. But some of these tech companies worry about getting utilities on board - because of the way utilities make money.

Thousands of renewable projects are waiting to connect to the grid, but there aren't enough transmission lines. Some tech companies have faster and cheaper solutions.

(Image credit: Julia Simon/NPR)

The mushroom mystery that has left a town reeling – podcast

Three people have died and a man remains in hospital after attending a lunch in Leongatha, Victoria, more than two weeks ago.

Police say mushrooms are the suspected cause of death and are investigating.

Jane Lee speaks to Guardian Australia science reporter Donna Lu about the case

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Morocco breaks heat record
Temperatures in Morocco have for the first time on record topped 50 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), the North African country's meteorological service said Sunday amid a scorching heat wave.
Why not cover whole cities to shield from the sun?

I am currently living in a hot city (all year round 30-38c) and the scalding sun punishes us in many ways:

– sweating at all times when outside during the day
– every room in the house needs AC. Can't even dream of having a major power outage
– can't really dress nicely, putting on a suit is out of question
– going anywhere on foot or motorbike on sunny days feels like walking on a volcano
– things literally melt inside the car when you leave it in the sun. I've had coins stuck to the dashboard

This was actually hot even before global warming. Maybe we get an extra 1-2c but they barely make any difference. This place isn't getting any colder in my lifetime.

Now, I know for a fact there are places that get way hotter. Cities in the Arabic Peninsula can reach over 50c easily in the hottest days. This is already dangerous and even deadly.

To the point now: why not have a reflective sheet to cover the whole city? Here is one idea of how it could work:

– Have a chessboard style cover (50/50 gaps so rain and wind can get through) above the city that would reflect/block 50% of the sunlight. Let's say it would hover around 800m from the ground.

– It would be made of very light but strong materials. Think of something like a kite with a steel wire frame.

– The "solid" squares of the structure would be made of a very reflective white or mirrored surface. Think of something like aluminium foil (but stronger) or opaque white sheets.

– The whole structure would be anchored in certain locations to stay in position.

– Helium balloons attached to certain points would keep the structure floating at a fixed altitude.

– For obvious reasons, this would have to be build in cities without too strong winds or urban helicopter traffic.

– Ideally we would even have solar panels in the structure but I don't think they can be made light enough, so let's keep them out initially.

It would be a bit of a big project, yes, but just the AC cost savings around town would be immense. On top of that, the land value would increase greatly as more people would be interesting in living in a hot climate without having to deal with the heat at full force.

Please discuss. What are the reasons this couldn't work?

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Mars once had wet-dry climate conducive to supporting life: Study
Is this article about Aerospace?
NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered the first evidence that Mars once had a climate which alternated between wet and dry seasons similar to Earth, a study said on Wednesday, suggesting the red planet may have once had the right conditions to support life.
The Guardian view on ultra-processed food: blame business, not consumers | Editorial
Is this article about Health?

Evidence is mounting on the health costs of these products. The real culprit is financialised growth, not inadequate individual willpower

If we are what we eat, then we are increasingly composed from substances including synthetic emulsifiers, flavour compounds, bulking agents and stabilising gums (one of the most common being a slime produced by bacteria). Well over half of the average diet in 

the UK

 and US now consists of ultra‑processed food (UPF) – or, as one scientist prefers to put it, industrially produced edible substances. Though defining it technically is complex, the simple explanation is that it contains items you wouldn’t normally find in a kitchen.

Sometimes UPF looks like junk food – obviously artificial and high in salt, fat and sugar. But it often comes in reassuring forms such as soup, muesli or yoghurt. “Almost every food that comes with a health claim on the packet is a UPF,” notes Dr Chris van Tulleken drily in Ultra-Processed People, one of several recent books on the subject.

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Researchers have created a panel of genetically diverse mice that accurately model the highly variable human response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The team uncovered differences in the innate immune and regulated proinflammatory responses, the timing and strength of which are associated with disease severity.
Researchers identify 135 new melanin genes responsible for pigmentation
Melanin is produced within special structures called melanosomes. Melanosomes are found inside melanin-producing pigment cells called melanocytes. Although all humans have the same number of melanocytes, the amount of melanin they produce differs and gives rise to the variation in human skin color.
Melanin is produced within special structures called melanosomes. Melanosomes are found inside melanin-producing pigment cells called melanocytes. Although all humans have the same number of melanocytes, the amount of melanin they produce differs and gives rise to the variation in human skin color.
Is this article about Weather?
Coral on the Great Barrier Reef has regrown strongly after the big losses of 2016 and 2017, when water temperatures were significantly above the long-term average. While this is good news, it's largely luck. The reef experienced mass bleaching in 2020 and 2022, but temperatures cooled just in time to prevent extensive coral deaths.
Is this article about Weather?
Coral on the Great Barrier Reef has regrown strongly after the big losses of 2016 and 2017, when water temperatures were significantly above the long-term average. While this is good news, it's largely luck. The reef experienced mass bleaching in 2020 and 2022, but temperatures cooled just in time to prevent extensive coral deaths.
Air pollution linked with global rise in antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to global health. In 2019, it caused more than 1.27 million deaths worldwide—and it's projected that antimicrobial resistance (which includes bacterial resistance to antibiotics) may contribute to 10 million deaths per year by 2050.
Does An Apple A Day Really Keep The Doctor Away? A Nutritionist Explains The Science Behind ‘Functional’ Foods
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • Japan has more than 1,000 foods and beverages approved as food for specialized health uses, such as hypoallergenic rice .
While apples aren’t considered a superfood, they are considered a functional food.
Looking Back Toward Cosmic Dawn—Astronomers Confirm the Faintest Galaxy Ever Seen
Is this article about Space?

The universe we live in is a transparent one, where light from stars and galaxies shines bright against a clear, dark backdrop. But this wasn’t always the case—in its early years, the universe was filled with a fog of hydrogen atoms that obscured light from the earliest stars and galaxies.

The intense ultraviolet light from the first generations of stars and galaxies is thought to have burned through the hydrogen fog, transforming the universe into what we see today. While previous generations of telescopes lacked the ability to study those early cosmic objects, astronomers are now using the James Webb Space Telescope’s superior technology to study the stars and galaxies that formed in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang.

I’m an astronomer who studies the farthest galaxies in the universe using the world’s foremost ground- and space-based telescopes. Using new observations from the Webb telescope and a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, my team confirmed the existence of the faintest galaxy currently known in the early universe. The galaxy, called JD1, is seen as it was when the universe was only 480 million years old, or 4 percent of its present age.

A Brief History of the Early Universe

The first billion years of the universe’s life were a crucial period in its evolution. In the first moments after the Big Bang, matter and light were bound to each other in a hot, dense “soup” of fundamental particles.

However, a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the universe expanded extremely rapidly. This expansion eventually allowed the universe to cool enough for light and matter to separate out of their “soup” and—some 380,000 years later—form hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen atoms appeared as an intergalactic fog, and with no light from stars and galaxies, the universe was dark. This period is known as the cosmic dark ages.

The arrival of the first generations of stars and galaxies several hundred million years after the Big Bang bathed the universe in extremely hot UV light, which burned—or ionized—the hydrogen fogThis process yielded the transparent, complex, and beautiful universe we see today.

Astronomers like me call the first billion years of the universe—when this hydrogen fog was burning away—the epoch of reionization. To fully understand this time period, we study when the first stars and galaxies formed, what their main properties were, and whether they were able to produce enough UV light to burn through all the hydrogen.

The Search for Faint Galaxies in the Early Universe

The first step toward understanding the epoch of reionization is finding and confirming the distances to galaxies that astronomers think might be responsible for this process. Since light travels at a finite speed, it takes time to arrive to our telescopes, so astronomers see objects as they were in the past.

For example, light from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, takes about 27,000 years to reach us on Earth, so we see it as it was 27,000 years in the past. That means that if we want to see back to the very first instants after the Big Bang (the universe is 13.8 billion years old), we have to look for objects at extreme distances.

Because galaxies residing in this time period are so far away, they appear extremely faint and small to our telescopes and emit most of their light in the infrared. This means astronomers need powerful infrared telescopes like Webb to find them. Prior to Webb, virtually all of the distant galaxies found by astronomers were exceptionally bright and large, simply because our telescopes weren’t sensitive enough to see the fainter, smaller galaxies.

However, it’s the latter population that are far more numerous, representative, and likely to be the main drivers to the reionization process, not the bright ones. So, these faint galaxies are the ones astronomers need to study in greater detail. It’s like trying to understand the evolution of humans by studying entire populations rather than a few very tall people. By allowing us to see faint galaxies, Webb is opening a new window into studying the early universe.

A Typical Early Galaxy

JD1 is one such “typical” faint galaxy. It was discovered in 2014 with the Hubble Space Telescope as a suspect distant galaxy. But Hubble didn’t have the capabilities or sensitivity to confirm its distance—it could make only an educated guess.

Small and faint nearby galaxies can sometimes be mistaken as distant ones, so astronomers need to be sure of their distances before we can make claims about their properties. Distant galaxies therefore remain “candidates” until they are confirmed. The Webb telescope finally has the capabilities to confirm these, and JD1 was one of the first major confirmations by Webb of an extremely distant galaxy candidate found by Hubble. This confirmation ranks it as the faintest galaxy yet seen in the early universe.

To confirm JD1, an international team of astronomers and I used Webb’s near-infrared spectrograph, NIRSpec, to obtain an infrared spectrum of the galaxy. The spectrum allowed us to pinpoint the distance from Earth and determine its age, the number of young stars it formed, and the amount of dust and heavy elements that it produced.


Bright lights (galaxies and a few stars) against a dark backdrop of sky. One faint galaxy is shown in a magnified box as a dim smudge.
A sky full of galaxies and a few stars. JD1, pictured in a zoomed-in box, is the faintest galaxy yet found in the early universe. Image Credit: Guido Roberts-Borsani/UCLA; original images: NASA, ESA, CSA, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, STScI.

Gravitational Lensing, Nature’s Magnifying Glass

Even for Webb, JD1 would be impossible to see without a helping hand from nature. JD1 is located behind a large cluster of nearby galaxies, called Abell 2744, whose combined gravitational strength bends and amplifies the light from JD1. This effect, known as gravitational lensing, makes JD1 appear larger and 13 times brighter than it ordinarily would.

Without gravitational lensing, astronomers would not have seen JD1, even with Webb. The combination of JD1’s gravitational magnification and new images from another one of Webb’s near-infrared instruments, NIRCam, made it possible for our team to study the galaxy’s structure in unprecedented detail and resolution.

Not only does this mean we as astronomers can study the inner regions of early galaxies, it also means we can start determining whether such early galaxies were small, compact, and isolated sources, or if they were merging and interacting with nearby galaxies. By studying these galaxies, we are tracing back to the building blocks that shaped the universe and gave rise to our cosmic home.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image Credit: NASA/STScI

What will language look like it the future?

It's practically impossible to tell anything that will happen in the future with certainty. Who could've imagined Covid-19? Of those few people in history that got anything right, they got away with it by using vague, contradictory language. Eg. "Humans might have a means of communication with each other halfway or entirely on opposite ends of the world sometime in the distant future… Or possibly in 20-100 years."

Anyways lol, here's something I made a few days. Please don't take anything I said there factually, since I didn't actually do much research. These are what I think is possible:

Eco-electric era (2030-2120 A.D):

What is now regarded as a paramount and pivotal epoch in human history was once compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Referred to as the ‘Eco-Electric' era by historians, it embodies humanity's initial remarkable strides in eco-engineering and humanitarian focus. This era is characterised by groundbreaking social platforms, AI-generated RPG games, virtual reality chat boxes, and culminated with SpaceX's triumphant landing on Mars.

The conclusion of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2029 brought forth a catastrophic financial burden on everyone. Within Canada alone, interest rates surged by 2%, while income taxes by 5%. The ruins of St. Petersburg now lies in the grip of nuclear devastation, with NATO allies bearing the consequences with damages exceeding $20 trillion USD. This triggered a nearly twelve-year-long global economic crisis that ultimately escalated tensions between the Asian Diplomatic Union and 

North America

. And through it came World War III spanning from 2074 to 2090.

The trauma reverberated across e-platforms. By the early 2100s, more than 500 video game studios and enterprises, including prominent names like Facebook, AliExpress, and Snapchat, faced bankruptcy. Yet, this collapse paved the way for rising indie game developers, creating a foundation for generations of video games to follow.

In the 2030s, music held a prominent place in people's daily lives. iPhones, seamlessly integrating sounds into everyday routines, was more than welcomed among the burgeoning teenage demographic. Popular music was colloquially referred to as 'tunes' and could be purchased from online platforms for a price. Although free music and concerts remained prevalent until the 2060s, they gradually waned thereafter. The era exhibited a tendency to overlook the tonal and polyrhythmic complexities of music, influenced greatly by the thriving pop culture. The creation of advanced AI algorithms replaced DJs and autotune. And writing music that is meant to be awe inspiring, at least with regards to virtuosity and tonal complexity wasn’t on the to-do list for directors. The nonchalance and gang focus of the early 2040s remained a conspicuous aspect, one that proved significant for the western music industry.

The architectural landscape mirrored these shifts. People preferred streamlined and minimalistic designs, oftentimes using monochrome palettes to decorate their house interiors and furniture. Concurrently, fashion underwent an enormous transformation. As emerging technological capabilities facilitated precise 3D modelling and printing, the fashion industry became carried by fast fashion and consumerism. Attire from this era often lacked embellishments, words, or images. While jeans persisted, they were deemed outdated, with sweatpants emerging as a ‘cooler’ substitute. Luxury clothing brands discreetly embedded their logos within garments, so as to not look too flashy. The growing influence of eco-engineering in the 2050s necessitated recyclable clothing. It encouraged the swift rise of the Circulose industry, which eventually proved unsuitable by the late 2130s.

English of the late 2080s: Short section with analysis from pg 155 of novel by J.W. Clarke (Electric. Gone. Rogue.)

Original text:

I looked the machine in the eyes who held at the gun to me. He was tall and… And it terrified me. At that moment I felt it. I felt a piercing iceness numbing though my limbs. I couldn’t move. I was seen.

Translated text:

I looked the machine in the eyes who pointed the gun to me. He was tall, and… and it terrified me. At the moment I felt piercing ice numbing my limbs. I couldn’t move. I had been seen.

Analysis of original text:

English changed noticeably in the 50 years after the Russo-Ukrainian war. Although not affected by the war so much, the internet evolution inspired by it led to centuries of rapid linguistic evolution.

‘I looked the machine in the eyes who held at the gun to me.’

The sentence structure of this phrase is noticeably different, choosing to place the subject ("I") after the verb ("looked"), a departure from the conventional word order found in standard English. This structure, although uncommon in contemporary linguistic usage, reflects an intriguing stylistic choice that might serve to emphasise the narrator's focus on their action of looking, rather than the subject themselves.

Furthermore, the phrase "who held at the gun to me" exhibits a unique linguistic quirk that appears to blend elements of colloquialism with more traditional sentence construction.

‘He was tall and… And it terrified me. ‘

Common in this time period was periods. Authors often choose to place periods unconventionally as to reflect a stutter or panic as seen in this excerpt. The fact that the redundant ‘And’ is capitalised shows how common language slowly made its way into formal works.

‘At that moment I felt it. I felt a piercing iceness numbing though my limbs.’

This line is a perfect example of eco-electric era linguistic expression. Shown here again, the ‘I felt’ repeats itself, creating a stutter to the text that adds depth and character.

New vocabulary emerged as seen here in words such as ‘iceness’. Moreover, the sentence structure is also different, where traditional syntactical norms are reshaped to articulate the intricacies of a transformative epoch.

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Study demonstrates many-body chemical reactions in a quantum degenerate gas
In recent years, physicists have been trying to attain the control of chemical reactions in the quantum degenerate regime, where de Broglie wavelength of particles becomes comparable to the spacing between them. Theoretical predictions suggest that many-body reactions between bosonic reactants in this regime will be marked by quantum coherence and Bose enhancement, yet this has been difficult to validate experimentally.
New massive brown dwarf discovered
Astronomers report the discovery of a new massive brown dwarf using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The newly detected object is about 80 times more massive than Jupiter and orbits a low-mass star. The finding was detailed in a paper published July 28 on the preprint server arXiv.
Pemaquid Lighthouse Revisited

We park beside the lighthouse keeper’s garden.
A hummingbird is unbalancing hibiscus flowers;
a nuthatch, tidying up the trunks of trees.
I didn’t know its name the last time we were here.
What else did I not know? What else has happened?
This is a place we don’t seem to mind returning to
after the dog, without him, maybe because
it looks like time made walkable. The fins of gneiss,
upright like vinyl in a bin, ride down
the promontory in parallel, in company,
in step the way one always is in time
and differing the way one always does in time,
until the edges, gentled but ungiving,
march into, and under, the covering slaps, uncovering hiss.
How many years has it been since we were here?
How many summers, which should be spaced apart in memory
by winters, like mica planes by quartz, but aren’t?
The way we’ve divvied up remembering, it’s you
who knows dates, and I, like the late dog,
have better luck with hows. With which ridge here
leads over the crown more or less safely, for instance,
to the sideways mille-feuille of dressmaker’s curves, the serried shark’s teeth,
the organ pedals of stone that run into the sea.
We clamber, wobble, resteady. You scrape a delicate shin.
The others here, straight, I think, selfie
early, but we, old marrieds, also not too good
for public individuation, also
living a common thing, venture further down
the slope to where white granite crosses in.
Like the fill-in flesh of scar. “I love your scars,” you swore
the other day. “But they’re not me!” I shouted.
Two cameras ago, I photographed the grainless
rock intruding into grained, but not
today. One takes a picture when one can’t come back.
To Paris, youth. But us in front of rocks
that show off change that doesn’t change in human lifetimes?
“It doesn’t matter,” I said one night. I meant
our visit to geology. “Not even us?”
you asked, not meaning you and me, exactly,
I think, but something in between that will not last,
that matters to us more because it won’t.
Before the boulders at the end, the crashed-upon,
we find a dimple that has kept some sea,
a double handful: kelp and ticklish hermit crabs
and limpets in a temporary world.
Because we happen to be here, we see the water’s
clarity and beauty, pointlessly,
the giving element that washes rock away.

Abortion Is Inflaming the GOP’s Biggest Electoral Problem
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The escalating political struggle over abortion is compounding the GOP’s challenges in the nation’s largest and most economically vibrant metropolitan areas.

The biggest counties in Ohio voted last week overwhelmingly against the ballot initiative pushed by Republicans and anti-abortion forces to raise the threshold for passing future amendments to the state constitution to 60 percent. That proposal, known as Issue 1, was meant to reduce the chances that voters would approve a separate initiative on the November ballot to overturn the six-week abortion ban Ohio Republicans approved in 2019.

The preponderant opposition to Issue 1 in Ohio’s largest counties extended a ringing pattern. Since the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide constitutional right to abortion with its 2022 Dobbs decision, seven states have held ballot initiatives that allowed voters to weigh in on whether the procedure should remain legal: California, Vermont, Montana, Michigan, Kansas, Kentucky, and now Ohio. In addition, voters in Wisconsin chose a new state-supreme-court justice in a race dominated by the question of whether abortion should remain legal in the state.

[Read: The abortion backlash reaches Ohio]

In each of those eight contests, the abortion-rights position or candidate prevailed. And in each case, most voters in the states’ largest population centers have voted—usually by lopsided margins—to support legal abortion.

These strikingly consistent results underline how conflict over abortion is amplifying the interconnected geographic, demographic, and economic realignments reconfiguring 


 politics. Particularly since Donald Trump emerged as the GOP’s national leader, Republicans have solidified their hold on exurban, small-town, and rural communities, whose populations tend to be predominantly white and Christian and many of whose economies are relianon the powerhouse industries of the 20th century: manufacturing, energy extraction, and agriculture. Democrats, in turn, are consolidating their advantage inside almost all of the nation’s largest metro areas, which tend to be more racially diverse, more secular, and more integrated into the expanding 21st-century Information Age economy.

New data provided exclusively to The Atlantic by Brookings Metro, a nonpartisan think tank, show, in fact, that the counties that voted against the proposed abortion restrictions are the places driving most economic growth in their states. Using data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, Brookings Metro at my request calculated the share of total state economic output generated by the counties that voted for and against abortion rights in five of these recent contests. The results were striking: Brookings found that the counties supporting abortion rights accounted for more than four-fifths of the total state GDP in Michigan, more than three-fourths in Kansas, exactly three-fourths in Ohio, and more than three-fifths in both Kentucky and Wisconsin.

“We are looking at not only two different political systems but two different economies as well within the same states,” Robert Maxim, a senior research associate at Brookings Metro, told me.

The Ohio vote demonstrated again that abortion is extending the fault line between those diverging systems, with stark electoral implications. Concerns that Republicans would try to ban abortion helped Democrats perform unexpectedly well in the 2022 elections in the key swing states of Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, particularly in well-educated suburbs around major cities. Democrats won four of the six governor contests and four of the five U.S. Senate races in those states despite widespread discontent over the economy and President Joe Biden’s job performance. Even if voters remain unhappy on both of those fronts in 2024, Democratic strategists are cautiously optimistic that fear of Republicans attempting to impose a national abortion ban will remain a powerful asset for Biden and the party’s other candidates.

When given the chance to weigh in on the issue directly, voters in communities of all sizes have displayed resistance to banning abortion. As Philip Bump of The Washington Post calculated this week, the share of voters supporting abortion rights exceeded Biden’s share of the vote in 500 of the 510 counties that have cast ballots on the issue since last year (outside of Vermont, which Bump did not include in his analysis).  

But across these states, most smaller counties still voted against legal abortion, including this last week in Ohio. A comprehensive analysis of the results by the Cleveland Plain Dealer found that in Ohio’s rural counties, more than three-fifths of voters still backed Issue 1.

Opponents of Issue 1 overcame that continued resistance with huge margins in the state’s largest urban and suburban counties. Most voters rejected Issue 1 in 14 of the 17 counties that cast the most ballots this week, including all seven that cast the absolute most votes (according to the ranking posted by The New York Times). In several of those counties, voters opposed Issue 1 by ratios of 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1.

Equally striking were the results in suburban counties around the major cities, almost all of which usually lean toward the GOP. Big majorities opposed Issue 1 in several large suburban counties that Trump won in 2020 (including Delaware and Lorain). Even in more solidly Republican suburban counties that gave Trump more than 60 percent of their vote (Butler, Warren, and Clermont), the “yes” side on Issue 1 eked out only a very narrow win. Turnout in those big urban and suburban counties was enormous as well.

Jeff Rusnak, a long-time Ohio-based Democratic consultant, says the suburban performance may signal an important shift for the party. One reason that Ohio has trended more solidly Republican than other states in the region, particularly Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, he argues, is that women in Ohio have not moved toward Democrats in the Trump era as much as women in those other states have. But, he told me, the “no” side on Issue 1 could not have run as well as it did in the big suburban counties without significant improvement among independent and even Republican-leaning women. “In Ohio, women who were not necessarily following the Great Lakes–state trends, I think, now woke up and realized, Aha, we better take action,” Rusnak said.

The Ohio results followed the pattern evident in the other states that have held elections directly affecting abortion rights since last year’s Supreme Court decision. In Kansas, abortion-rights supporters carried all six of the counties that cast the most votes. In the Kentucky and Michigan votes, abortion-rights supporters carried eight of the 10 counties that cast the most votes, and in California they carried the 14 counties with the highest vote totals. Montana doesn’t have as many urban centers as these other states, but its anti-abortion ballot measure was defeated with majority opposition in all three of the counties that cast the most votes. In the Wisconsin state-supreme-court race this spring, Democrat Janet Protasiewicz, who centered her campaign on an unusually explicit pledge to support legal abortion, carried seven of the 10 highest-voting counties. (All of these figures are from the New York Times ranking of counties in those states’ results.) For Republicans hoping to regain ground in urban and suburban communities, abortion has become “a huge challenge because they really are on the wrong side of the issue” with those voters, Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, told me.

The results in these abortion votes reflect what I’ve called the “class inversion” in American politics. That’s the modern dynamic in which Democrats are running best in the most economically dynamic places in and around the largest cities. Simultaneously, Republicans are relying more on economically struggling communities that generally resist and resent the cultural and demographic changes that are unfolding mostly in those larger metros.

Tom Davis, a former Republican representative from Northern Virginia who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee, has described this process to me as Republicans exchanging “the country club for the country.” In some states, trading reduced margins in large suburbs for expanded advantages in small towns and rural areas has clearly improved the GOP position. That’s been true in such states as Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas, as well as in Texas, Iowa, Montana, and, more tenuously, North Carolina. Ohio has fit squarely in that category as well, with GOP gains among blue-collar voters, particularly in counties along the state’s eastern border, propelling its shift from the quintessential late-20th-century swing state to its current position as a Republican redoubt.

But that reconfiguration just as clearly hurt Republicans in other states, such as Colorado and Virginia earlier in this century and Arizona and Georgia more recently. Growing strength in the largest communities has even allowed Democrats to regain the edge in each of the three pivotal Rust Belt states Trump in 2016 dislodged from the “blue wall”: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In 2022, Democrats swept the governorships in all three states, and won a Senate race as well in Pennsylvania. Support for legal abortion was central to all of those victories: Just over three-fifths of voters in each state said abortion should remain legal in all or most circumstances and vast majorities of them backed the Democratic candidates, according to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research for a consortium of media outlets. The numbers were almost identical in Arizona, where just over three-fifths of voters also backed abortion rights, and commanding majorities of them supported the winning Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. senator.

Those races made clear that protecting abortion rights was a powerful issue in 2022 for Democrats in blue-leaning or purple states where abortion mostly remains legal. But, as I’ve written, the issue proved much less potent in the more solidly red-leaning states that banned abortion: Republican governors and legislators who passed severe abortion bans cruised to reelection in states including Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Exit polls found that in those more reliably Republican states, even a significant minority of voters who described themselves as pro-choice placed greater priority on other issues, among them crime and immigration, and supported Republican governors who signed abortion restrictions or bans.

Ohio exemplified that trend as powerfully as any state. Though the exit polls showed that nearly three-fifths of voters said abortion should remain legal in all or most circumstances, Republican Governor Mike DeWine cruised to a landslide reelection after signing the state’s six-week abortion ban. Republican J. D. Vance, who supported a national abortion ban, nonetheless attracted the votes of about one-third of self-described voters who said they supported abortion rights in his winning Ohio Senate campaign last year, the exit polls found.

The fate of Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who’s facing reelection in 2024, may turn on whether he can win a bigger share of the voters who support abortion rights there, as Democrats did last year in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. (The same is likely true for Democratic Senator Jon Tester in Republican-leaning Montana, another state that voted down an anti-abortion ballot initiative last year.)

[Read: It’s abortion, stupid]

Brown has some reasons for optimism. After the defeat of Issue 1 last week, the follow-on ballot initiative in November to restore abortion rights in the state will keep the issue front and center. The two leading Republican candidates to oppose Brown are each staunch abortion opponents; Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the probable front-runner in the GOP race, was the chief public advocate for last week’s failed initiative. Most encouraging for Brown, the “no” vote on Issue 1 in the state’s biggest suburban counties far exceeded not only Biden’s performance in the same places in 2020, but also Brown’s own numbers in his last reelection, in 2018.

For Brown, and virtually every Democrat in a competitive statewide race next year, the road to victory runs through strong showings in such large urban and suburban counties. Given the persistence of discontent over the economy, it will be particularly crucial for Biden to generate big margins among suburban voters who support abortion rights in the very few states likely to decide control of the White House. The resounding defeat of Issue 1 this week showed again that Republicans, in their zeal to revoke the right to legal abortion, have handed Biden and other Democrats their most powerful argument to move those voters.

A Cozy Whodunit Series to Revisit
Is this article about Lifestyle?

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.

Welcome back to The Daily’s Sunday culture edition, in which one Atlantic writer reveals what’s keeping them entertained.

Today’s special guest is Atlantic staff writer Marina Koren. Marina reports on astronomy, space flight, and all else that’s going on in our universe. You might say, as she once did, that her subject area is “space feels.” Marina is currently catching up on the Angela Lansbury TV series Murder, She Wrote, pausing a few minutes before the end of each episode to guess the killer. She’s also finding joy online by looking at little illustrations of a cat named Francois living his daily life, and reconnecting with an immersive video game she loved as a child.

First, here are three Sunday reads from The Atlantic:

The Culture Survey: Marina Koren

The television show I’m most enjoying right now: Murder, She Wrote, the TV series starring Angela Lansbury (streaming on Peacock). I started watching it for the first time last year, after I saw a tweet about how a good chunk of the show consists of men flirting with Lansbury’s irresistible Jessica Fletcher. And Jessica Fletcher is irresistible! Her demeanor? Admirably kind and generous. Her mind? Sharp as a tack. Her outfits? Flawless. I love the moment when Jessica shows up at a crime scene and tells the professionals some version of, Oh, I’m not sure how I could possibly help, Detective. Girl, it’s Season 8; you’re going to solve this whole thing! Despite the gruesome subject, every episode feels cozy, and my partner and I like to pause a few minutes before the end to try to figure out the killer ourselves. As with any show created in the 1980s and ’90s, there are some bits that haven’t aged very well. But a good whodunit is, in my opinion, timeless.

And something from this century: I devoured all eight episodes of The Resort, also on Peacock, a clever, raunchy mystery-comedy that also manages to be a quiet meditation on grief. The show’s executive producer Andy Siara previously wrote the 2020 movie Palm Springs, which was a fun, time-loop-y ride. [Related: Angela Lansbury could make the silliest movie a work of art.]

Best novel I’ve read recently, and the best work of nonfiction: Wrong Place Wrong Time, by Gillian McAllister, was impossible to put down. It’s about a mother who witnesses her teenage son kill a man outside their home, for seemingly no reason. When she gets up the next morning, distraught and desperate to help her kid, she realizes she’s woken up on the day before the murder. How often do you hear about a crime thriller with time travel in it? The storyline is twisty and the prose is excellent, not a word out of place. I went to a great restaurant earlier this year that advertised its meaty crab cakes as “all killer, no filler”—this book felt just like that.

I read Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart, around the time of the crab cakes, and I was in awe of her capacity to write so vividly and unflinchingly about her mother’s illness and death. Page after page, she resisted the instinct to look away from the most difficult moments of their lives together, and stared straight at them instead. [Related: What grief tastes like]

An online creator that I’m a fan of: Credit goes to the Instagram algorithm for introducing me to @woodland_ghost, an artist who creates delightful little illustrations of a cat named Francois doing everyday things, such as eating pasta, making soup, and walking along a leafy path. Sometimes the subject is Francois’ fellow feline friend Praline. The drawings are soft and soothing, offering little squares of comfort on an otherwise loud and mean internet.

An author I will read anything by: The mystery writer Ruth Ware. She’s a master of locked-room mysteries with a small cast of characters and too many secrets. Her 2019 novel, The Turn of the Key, was so spooky and atmospheric that I had to sleep with the lights on for two nights. I rented a car earlier this year to go see her at a book event outside the city, and she reacted to my nervous fan-girling with kindness and grace.

A musical artist who means a lot to me: The singer Ingrid Michaelson. If you know one of her songs, it’s probably “The Way I Am,” which became popular thanks to a 2007 Old Navy commercial: “If you are chilly / Here, take my sweater.” I feel like I’ve grown up with her voice; I’m not a big fan of live music, but I’ve been going to Michaelson’s shows since I was a teenager. Her songs are lovely and heart-wrenching, and she’s quite the comedian onstage, too. She loved Stranger Things so much that she made an entire synth-filled album inspired by the show—and it’s really good!

My favorite way of wasting time on my phone: Hear me out: TikTok is the best social network. There’s no FOMO, because I don’t follow everyone I know in real life, and there’s no Twitter trolls yelling at me over my latest article. Just cats, and cooking videos, and whatever else the platform has figured out I enjoy. The scrolling is fragmenting my attention span and probably rotting my brain, and I shout “ATTENZIONE, PICKPOCKET!” every time my cat paws at my stuff. But the darn things make me laugh, and laughing is good for you. Surely that cancels out the brain rot? [Related: TikTok is doing something very un-TikTok.]

The last thing that made me snort with laughter: Barbie. Just one brilliant one-liner after another. [Related: The surprising key to understanding the Barbie film]

The last thing that made me cry: Also Barbie. The moment a sobbing Margot Robbie says that she’s “not good enough for anything”—that’ll get the anxiety-ridden perfectionists in the theater. But before that it was Past Lives, a delicate and intimate film about love, identity, and the fraught (and usually impossible-to-answer) question of what might have been. Watching it felt like trying to wrangle competing thoughts from my inner tween, who loved reading young-adult romance books with uncomplicated happy endings, and my adult self, who knows better. (Bonus: The chemistry between the actors Greta Lee and Teo Yoo radiates off the big screen.) [Related: A love that can be at once platonic and romantic]

Something I recently revisited: Does a video game count? I recently spent a six-hour flight playing Pharaoh, a city-building game that my sister and I loved as children. It’s a Windows game from 1999 that barely runs on anything anymore, but miraculously works on my partner’s Steam Deck, a handheld gaming device. The setting is ancient Egypt, and it’s vibrant and wonderfully detailed. You can build bazaars and fill them with figs and chickpeas for your citizens, but you also have to keep the unemployment rate down and throw enough festivals so the gods don’t hate you. It’s a thrilling little world to get lost in. I’ve never reached the final mission, which probably has the biggest pyramids, but there’s still time.

The Week Ahead

  1. August Wilson: A Life, Patti Hartigan’s authoritative biography of the Pulitzer-winning playwright who transformed 
     theater (on sale Tuesday)
  2. Season 4 of The Upshaws, which follows a working-class Black family striving for a better life in Indiana (streaming on Netflix this Thursday)
  3. Back on the Strip, featuring Spence Moore II and Tiffany Haddish, follows a magician who joins a stripper crew after losing the woman of his dreams (in theaters Friday).


black-and-white family photo of girl standing with parents, with cut-out silhouette of missing younger child on light purple background
Photo-illustration by Oliver Munday. Courtesy of Rona Senior.

The Ones We Sent Away

By Jennifer Senior

This story starts, of all things, with a viral tweet. It’s the summer of 2021. My husband wanders into the kitchen and asks whether I’ve seen the post from the English theater director that has been whipping around Twitter, the one featuring a photograph of his nonverbal son. I have not. I head up the stairs to my computer. “How will I find it?” I shout.

“You’ll find it,” he tells me.

I do, within a matter of seconds: a picture of Joey Unwin, smiling gently for the camera, his bare calves and sandaled toes a few steps from an inlet by the sea …

I spend nearly an hour, just scrolling. I am only partway through when I realize my husband hasn’t steered me toward this outpouring simply because it’s an atypical Twitter moment, suffused with the sincere and the personal. It’s because he recognizes that to me, the tweet and downrush of replies are personal.

He knows that I have an aunt whom no one speaks about and who herself barely speaks. She is, at the time of this tweet, 70 years old and living in a group home in upstate New York. I have met her just once. Before this very moment, in fact, I have forgotten she exists at all.

Read the full article.

More in Culture

Catch Up on The Atlantic

Photo Album

France’s Nael Rouffiac takes part in a mountain-bike race at the Cycling World Championships in Scotland.
France’s Nael Rouffiac takes part in a mountain-bike race at the Cycling World Championships in Scotland. (Oli Scarff / AFP / Getty)

A dog-surfing championship in California, a rescued wallaby in Australia, and more in our editor’s selection of the week’s best photos.

Katherine Hu contributed to this newsletter.

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We Reached the Glacier Just as It Collapsed

Out on the bow of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer, the air is dense and almost warm. We have punched through miles of Antarctic ice floes to reach the Amundsen Sea’s foggy interior. I want to honor the remaining distance between us and Thwaites Glacier’s calving front––this place that many scientists suggest could make a catastrophic impact on global sea levels but that no one, as of this moment in February of 2019, had ever before visited by ship––and yet I don’t really know what to do except stand here. Just off the port side: a half-flipped iceberg in the shape of a pyramid. It looks like a ruin, something time has partially undone—what rested below the water line waxed away by the heat of the sea, the once-sunk ice smooth as glass.


That night, sound sleep eludes me. I wake often, each time hopeful that we have arrived. Finally, around 5 o’clock, I rise. Shuffle up the five flights of stairs that separate my cabin from the bridge. Outside, Thwaites’s gray margin wobbles in the half-light.


We wind alongside it, entering small coves and rounding odd promontories. Our pace is slow, to hold this precarious line. The ice face is soft as dunes. The night’s new hint of darkness gives way to the bruised light of dawn, and many other people appear to watch what each of the 56 scientists and crew members aboard have been working toward––for weeks, for years, and, in some cases, for more than a decade––come into sharp focus. We don’t talk; instead we whisper as though in the presence of some otherworldly being. Finally, we gaze upon the edge of Thwaites, which until months ago was unreachable by ship. For the first time since humans started keeping track (and likely in thousands of years), the sea has thawed enough for a ship to sail right up to the glacier’s ice front. Rick Wiemken, the chief mate, stands attentive at the Palmer’s helm, the captain next to him, steering us along the edges of Thwaites’s unfathomable fracturing, its hemorrhaging heart of milk.


If Antarctica is going to dump a lot of ice into the ocean this century, it will likely come from Thwaites. That’s because the glacier rests below sea level, exposing its underside to warm-water incursions that are causing rapid melting from beneath. Satellite imagery suggests that it loses 50 billion tons of ice a year, or the equivalent of the Great Pyramid of Khufu some 8,000 times over. Put in other terms: Thwaites alone contains more than two feet of potential sea-level rise, and were it to wholly disintegrate, it could destabilize much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing global sea levels to jump 10 feet or more. Ten feet would devastate big chunks of New York and Jakarta, Mumbai and Boston, and heaps of smaller, equally important places.


[Read: The new video of one of the scariest places on Earth]


But the more we learn about Thwaites, the more profoundly we understand that many of our predictions about the speed of sea-level rise are extremely tenuous. As the first people to ever survey the calving edge of the world’s widest glacier, our mission is to bring back as much preliminary information as possible. After our return, these data will be used to begin to refine our climate-change models and to strategize the remaining years of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC). For instance, it will inform a pair of studiespublished in Nature, that suggest that, while the underside of Thwaites is melting less quickly than previously suspected, deep and rapidly expanding cracks in the ice could trigger the shelf’s collapse. Put another way: At the cold nadir of the planet, Thwaites continues to step outside of the script we imagined for it, defying even our most detailed projections of what is to come.

Picture of the view from the bridge with ice floe reflections
The view from the bridge with ice floe reflections (Photograph by Elizabeth Rush)

Nearly everyone onboard spends that first day up on the bridge in the shadow of Thwaites. We stand together in the difficulty of it, trying to see what sits right in front of us. A slab cantilevers out over the water like the scalloped shell of a giant clam, studded with icicles formed during the recent warm days. I set up my camera to take a series of time-lapse photos. The shutter opens and closes, opens and closes. The art critic John Berger’s famous phrase “Seeing comes before words” rises to the surface of my thoughts. To see is also to be seen, he argues, to imagine yourself in the eyes of the other. How do we appear from the glacier’s perspective? The morning we cruise past is, in glacial time, nothing more than a blip.


Inside, the mates track the Palmer’s progress on a paper map. According to their faint pencil marks, we are currently on top of the Thwaites Glacier Tongue. Back in 1991, when the chart was printed, this area was frozen solid, a part of the Eastern Ice Shelf that extended miles farther out into the Amundsen Sea. Rick calls me over to the navigational console to look at the Palmer’s electronic course-plotting system. In the image on the screen, water appears blue, the ice shelf gray, the place where we sail white and “unnamed,” unvisited.


Rob Larter, the chief scientist, is busy watching the monitor that displays the depth of the seafloor in real time.


“It’s over 1,000 meters deep,” he says. “Deeper than the gravity-inversion models predicted.” Just like that, on our very first morning, we make a discovery: that more water is likely working its way under the glacier than we thought.


I sprint to the galley, scarf down two hard-boiled eggs and half a cinnamon bun, then run back up, taking the stairs two at a time. Soon I am outside again, looking away as little as possible. Thwaites’s calving edge stretches just under 100 miles, and so it takes us hours to travel its length. Sometimes the margin appears steep and sturdy and sheer; in other places, it loses its sheen, seems chalky and distressed. We turn a corner, and the face rockets upward into a wall. A wild line twists along the top of the shelf, tracing gorges into the blue-white snow. Then, just as abruptly, the parapet has crumbled, cluttering the water with floating pieces of brash ice.


A switch flips when we arrive at Thwaites. There is no more of the “keeping busy” that saw us through the beginning of our journey. No more sauna club or bridge lessons. No more Ping-Pong down in the hold or king cake at midnight. All that matters is data. Mud samples, seafloor depths, temperature readings, and wave action; we even keep a real-time log of sea-ice observations. Hypothetically, each of the different teams slices their days in two: Some people work from noon to midnight and others from midnight to noon. But most rest only when skating dangerously close to delirium.


We labor nonstop for nearly a week.


Then something shifts again.

Picture of Thwaites glacier
Thwaites Glacier (Photograph by Elizabeth Rush)

Down in the dry lab, Rob hunches over his silver laptop. He’s got two windows open and is clicking back and forth between them. Both contain aerial images of the study area, the first satellite information to have made its way on board in well over a week. In one, Thwaites’s western front is a sturdy rampart. In the other, it looks as if someone took a baseball bat to a windshield. Rob toggles between the two. Cohesive shelf. Exploded lodestar. A navigable bay, then the same inlet cluttered with a surreal confetti of bergs.


“The morning we arrived, we cruised right along the edge of the shelf,” I say, looking at the first image. “It was pretty smooth, a solid wall of ice. There was some rumpling and slumping, but––”


“But over the last few days, there appears to have been a real significant release of bergs directly south of us, from Thwaites’s ice front,” Rob says, finishing my thought. Bewildered, he touches his dry palms to his muddy pants. In my stomach, a strange flutter, half fear, half excitement. This is also why we are here: to witness the disassembling that we previously only imagined with words, with calculations born from remote satellite images, with mathematical models. That disassembling, it appears, is unfolding right in front of us.


“It looks nearly as dramatic as the Larsen B collapse,” Rob says. (I reported his reaction in National Geographic at the time.) He is referring to one of the largest recorded examples of ice-shelf collapse in human history. In 2002, scientists monitoring the peninsula through aerial satellite imagery watched in both amazement and horror as much of the Larsen B Ice Shelf (a chunk about the size of Rhode Island) fell apart over a period of less than two months. In the years after the collapse, ice made its way into the bay as much as eight times faster than before, proving that when a shelf disintegrates, the glaciers it held in check can dump far more of their mass into the ocean. Which means that in the days and years following this collapse, the flow of Thwaites might also accelerate. Data from our mission suggest that sometime over the past couple of centuries, Thwaites retreated two to three times faster than what we see today, signaling that more significant ice loss is possible. (Four and a half years later, there is still not a comprehensive study of the ice-loss rates in the years following this breakup.)


[Read: Climate collapse could happen fast]


The folds of Rob’s faded jumpsuit appear bleached in the lab’s fluorescent light. The gray pouches beneath his bright-blue eyes sag. He clicks from one image to the next again and makes an involuntary sound between a sigh and a grunt.


“Have you ever been on a ship where something this dramatic has happened in the area where you were working?” I finally ask. It is, after all, Rob’s 20th time in Antarctica.


“I haven’t, no,” he says quietly.   


All of our remaining work in this unnamed bay is canceled. The less than a week we spent working along the western portion of Thwaites: that is the only time we will have. And now it is over.


Up on the bridge, the second mate listens to speed metal while steering us away from the minefield of the collapse. Eventually I step outside and turn in a full circle but rarely catch sight of the horizon line, so full is the sea with recently calved bergs. I have wanted to see a glacier calve for nearly a decade. In my mind, the ice would creak and groan, the ship’s deck would tremble, clouds of dust would rise up into the bright-blue vault of the sky, walls of water surge toward us. Bearing witness to such collapse, how could something not shift?


But this is nothing like what I expected. No cleaving cliff faces. No echoes of rapture. I turn the circle again. To my right, an iceberg bigger than the college campus where I teach. Behind it, another, and another. Some have soft white snouts, and others are glossy, their edges shining sharply in the sun. When a glacier steps back or surges in the Arctic, those who live with the ice say it is sending a message. For as long as I have known Thwaites’s name, I imagined receiving that message, that this moment of its breaking would ring through my body as warning. But I never considered the possibility that the cracks would be so large I wouldn’t know they were cracks. That I wouldn’t be able to distinguish berg from shelf, something whole from something broken. I search my memory for signs of collapse, for something—anything—dramatic. Just this morning, I asked one of the researchers onboard about the bergs, and yes, she confirmed that they came from Thwaites. If we had arrived a day ago, I think, we would believe that this was the way it was supposed to be.

This article was adapted from Elizabeth Rush’s forthcoming book, The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth.



The Problem With Fox News Goes Way, Way Back
Is this article about Political Science?

The cable-news industry that Americans know today is a cautionary tale in what happens when democracy collides with consumerism. For years, CNN, MSNBC, and 


 News raked in profits while amplifying partisan rancor in varying ways. Starting in 2015, CNN pumped its ratings by playing up Donald Trump, whose presidency then buoyed all three cable-news giants. But now CNN is in turmoil after a recent change of ownership and the departure of its president, Chris Licht, after 15 months. After the 2020 election, Fox News amplified false claims about voting irregularities rather than offend its disproportionately pro-Trump audience—and subsequently settled a defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems for more than $700 million. These cable-news networks have long relied on receiving fees from cable companies for each basic-cable subscriber. Now the networks need to replace that income with subscription dollars as more and more Americans cut the cord, and the scramble for money does not bode well for investment in deep, factual reporting about 

the United States

 and the rest of the world.

Cable news, in short, is in a crisis—but not a new one. Indeed, the story goes back years, to a time before Fox News or CNN was even founded. More than half a century ago, the United States had decisions to make about how the emerging medium would operate: Should the government strictly regulate it as a common carrier to cultivate a more informed and engaged citizenry, or should cable be a for-profit industry driven by the bottom line?

[Read: Inside the meltdown at CNN]

Richard Nixon settled the issue in the latter direction. The electronic-media landscape has always existed within parameters determined by regulators, and politicians bend regulatory policy to their own political needs. That’s what Nixon did with cable. His motives were mixed: A believer in free competition, he also despised the main broadcast networks and believed that embattled politicians like him could more easily manipulate a fragmented television world. Some of the paths not taken during cable’s early development should remind us that the current cable-news landscape was not inevitable—and that largely forgotten government decisions from earlier eras turned out to have enormous consequences.

By the late 1960s, federal broadcast-television regulations had fostered a marketplace dominated by the Big Three. The government had effectively allowed CBS, NBC, and ABC to control the national television marketplace in exchange for their promise to serve the public interest. Today’s polarized politics has inspired some nostalgia for an era when Americans all got their TV news—and their entertainment, for that matter—from common sources. But at the time, discontent abounded. Many on the left saw a network culture steeped in racial and gender stereotypes that news and entertainment programs tended to perpetuate. Conservatives were eager to disrupt a media culture that they viewed as ideologically exclusionary. Many economists lamented that new entrants were frozen out, while free-expression advocates reasoned that, as television became the main venue in which national politics played out, average Americans needed ways to present their ideas on the nation’s screens.

A new technology, cable television, offered exciting possibilities. Wired television first emerged in the late ’40s, when entrepreneurial engineers in out-of-the-way communities sought to extend broadcasting’s reach. In 1948, for example, a man in Astoria, Oregon, found a way to bring in distant television signals from a hotel roof and then send the connection via a coaxial wire to businesses and homes for a fee. Seeking to protect local broadcasters from competition, the Federal Communications Commission initially regulated which programs cable could offer and where systems could even operate. But by the late ’60s, reform-minded FCC commissioners, think-tank researchers, and political activists alike began to see that wired infrastructure, which could offer far more channels than rabbit-ear antennas, could bring about a communications revolution. All of the power, according to the 1970 Sloan Commission on Cable Television, lay with the government, which could “prohibit” cable, “permit it,” or “promote it almost by fiat.”

[Read: Nixon is gone, but his media strategy lives on]

In the early ’70s, the progressive writer Ralph Lee Smith urged the government to subsidize the creation of a “Wired Nation,” just as it had built the nation’s interstate-highway system. Liberal organizations such as the Americans for Democratic Action, the ACLU, and the Ford Foundation all extolled how the technology could deliver essential employment and educational opportunities to fulfill Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society promises.

Others hoped that cable would bring about more radical social changes. Activists calling themselves “video guerrillas” wanted to use new art forms distributed on the cable dial to criticize capitalism, imperialism, and racial discrimination. To push the boundaries of acceptable content and decentralize production, they built community production centers, shared resources in volunteer collectives, and got support from foundations to underwrite operations.

Nixon, too, saw the possibilities of cable to advance his agenda. The 37th president traced his political struggles to media bias and his own inability to control his media image. He worried that public television—the preferred response of Johnson, his predecessor, to the Big Three monopoly—would only give more power to the liberal elite. So Nixon attacked the credibility and budget of the newly established Corporation for Public Broadcasting and its television-programming partner, PBS.

He saw a different role for cable: undermining the network newsrooms. Nixon was waging a broader campaign against the Big Three’s business operations; his administration also threatened to revoke broadcasting licenses and filed an antitrust suit against them. But his advisers told him that the real dagger to the networks would be to encourage cable television’s expansion as a competitor. In December 1972, an economist for Nixon’s new Office of Technology Policy (OTP) laid out Project BUN (which stood for Break Up Networks), an initiative whose very name shows how Nixon’s media vendetta shaped his policies. It emphasized deregulation of cable, a goal further enshrined in a 1974 special Cabinet-committee report endorsing the idea of letting the medium “prove its worth to the American people” in the marketplace.

Nixon’s approach changed the whole conversation. The video guerrillas’ hopes for cable television as a venue for nonprofit and viewer-created programming soon faded. With the Nixon administration dangling the possibility of deregulation, the cable industry rushed to lobby for that outcome, frequently reminding elected officials how cable could serve their political agendas. Subsequent laws and regulations for cable made little effort to promote common citizenship. Notably, although the FCC once required the major networks to cover multiple points of view about matters of controversy in the name of advancing the public interest, subsequent cable legislation did little to cultivate that ethos.

By the time Nixon retreated to Southern California in disgrace, in 1974, politicians across the political spectrum understood, as he had, that the emerging cable landscape might give them more chances to be on television and more control over how they were presented. Still, Nixon’s motives—manipulating his image, punishing his opponents, decentralizing the television landscape to open it to new voices—pulled the emerging industry in multiple directions, as illustrated by the trajectory of two men who worked for Nixon: Brian Lamb, a former OTP staffer who went on to launch C-SPAN, and Roger Ailes, a former campaign adviser who later started Fox News.

For Lamb, cable television offered a meaningful path to shift power from elitist television networks to individual viewers, providing voters with more information and more transparency into Washington. C-SPAN, a public-affairs channel that aired call-in shows and brought footage of congressional proceedings into American living rooms, soon became proof of this concept. The channel, voluntarily underwritten as a public service by cable companies, delivered political benefits to the very lawmakers who would in 1984 pass a law explicitly lifting many local and state regulations on the industry. As the cable business flourished in the ’90s and early 2000s, the increasing number of subscribers meant that C-SPAN’s budget grew (operators paid a per-subscriber fee to fund it), and C-SPAN expanded programming to include such earnest shows as Book TV and American History TV.

[From the April 1973 issue: The president and the press]

Ailes had less noble goals for television. In 1970, he championed a White House “Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News,” which celebrated TV’s political power. “People are lazy. With television, you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you,” the plan explained. At the time, Nixon’s team worried that the partisan propaganda Ailes proposed would generate too much blowback. Three decades later, liberal and centrist criticism did not faze Ailes’s Fox News, which mixed news with entertainment in ways that played to conservative viewers’ fears and grievances and kept them glued to the screen.

Therein lies the dashed promise of cable: Despite Fox’s recent setbacks—and despite the fact that its divisive brand of programming and deliberate delivery of election falsehoods are, I would argue, toxic for democracy—the network’s approach is likely to retain a distinct, sustainable paying audience, even if shifting viewing habits change the delivery mechanism from cable to streaming. By contrast, C-SPAN, which gives viewers genuine information in a neutral way, faces a budding crisis: Because it is dependent on cable subscriptions, cord cutting has put its future into jeopardy.

In recent years, lawmakers in Congress have been debating whether and how to regulate big internet companies. The history of the cable industry highlights the consequences of allowing such a powerful medium to develop with little or no democratic oversight. For the past 50 years, boosters of the cable industry made the case that the marketplace could deliver for American consumers and citizens. But the pursuit of profits has resulted in cable news networks that overwhelmingly appeal to viewers’ worst impulses, overrunning efforts to inculcate good citizenship. That’s why another revelation from Project BUN also matters today as we look at the world it helped create: Technology and public policy together produced our media environment, and this same combination could also change it for the better.


1938: Valdemar Poulsens buesender viste vejen for radiotelegrafi og -telefoni
Læs artiklen fra 9. april 1938 Ingeniørens tidsmaskine Siden 1892 har Ingeniøren forsynet de danske ingeniører med nyheder inden for teknikkens verden. Mange af dem er et gensyn værd, og i Ingeniørens tidsmaskine dykker vi ned i de gamle årgange og linker til nogle af de vigtige, interessante, sjove eller bare læseværdige artikler. Find selv flere her i Ingeniørernes Danmarkshistorie.
Scientists Puzzled to Find Plastic Fragments Inside Human Hearts
Is this article about Biopharma Industry?
Microplastics have been found inside human heart tissues — though as the scientists who found them note, it's not all that surprising.

Researchers have found microplastics inside human heart tissues — though as the scientists note, that shouldn't be all too surprising.

"Everywhere scientists look for microplastics," a press release about the new research reads, "they’ve found them."

Be it in foodwaterair, and even some parts of the human bodymicroplastics are absolutely everywhere. And, as it turns out, the human heart, one of the body's innermost organs, isn't spared.

An international team of researchers conducted a pilot study by collecting heart tissue samples from 15 patients during heart surgery, as well as blood samples from half of these participants.

Their preliminary findings, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggest that "microplastics were unexpectedly introduced during the procedures."

Using laser direct infrared imaging instruments, the researchers detected "tens to thousands of individual microplastic pieces in most tissue samples," though as the news release notes, "the amounts and materials varied between participants."

The team detected eight types of plastic in the tissues including polyethylene terephthalate, which is primarily found in polyester clothing, and polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

Blood samples from all of the participants also contained minuscule plastic particles of a number of different types as well, but, curiously enough, "after surgery their average size decreased."

While this is far from the first time materials have been left behind in human bodies post-surgery, this pilot study shines a line on how microplastics like those found in these 15 patients could be introduced without any neglect on the part of the surgeons.

"The findings show how invasive medical procedures are an overlooked route of microplastics exposure," the press release notes, "providing direct access to the bloodstream and internal tissues."

Larger and more diverse studies are, of course, in order to figure out how common a problem this really is, but these preliminary results are more than enough evidence to consider this a serious line of inquiry.

More on microplastics: After Seeing This Terrifying Study, We're Never Microwaving Plastic Again

The post Scientists 


 to Find Plastic Fragments Inside Human Hearts appeared first on Futurism.

Chinese Military Says It’s Figured Out How to Build Laser Weapons That Can Fire Indefinitely
Is this article about Defense Industry?
The Chinese military claims it has developed technology that would allow for "infinite" lasers that don't go haywire.

Beam Me Up



 military has announced what could be a major breakthrough in energy weapon tech — if it holds up.

As the South China Morning Post reports, representatives from the country's National University of Defence Technology say they've developed a state-of-the-art cooling system that would allow high-energy lasers to remain powered up "infinitely" without getting too hot.

While laser technology has existed for decades, these high-energy beams generate so much excess heat that they often go haywire, hampering previous attempts at similar weapon systems around the world.

The new Chinese cooling system, according to the report, would use gas that blows through the weapon to remove excess heat and allow for weapons to shoot precise laser beams for an indefinite amount of time without losing power or getting distorted.

"High-quality beams can be produced not only in the first second, but also maintained indefinitely," the team wrote in a new paper on the purported cooling tech, published in the Chinese-language journal Acta Optica Sinica.

Arms Race

The United States has, as the SCMP notes, often dabbled in similar tech. But these projects have largely failed to become mainstream weapons because, as the report suggests, they simply weren't destructive enough.

In a tweet about the reports, former British military official Steve Weaver noted that if the news is true, it would put China ahead of the United States in more ways than one.

"If [Chinese scientists] have overcome the heating and distortion issues as claimed, in a (relatively) small enough unit for deployment," Weaver wrote, "this is a big breakthrough considering the US failures in this area."

Along with providing a supposedly cheaper alternative to old-school missile systems because it won't need traditional munitions, these cool lasers could also be used to shoot down satellites like those provided by Elon Musk's Starlink system, military scientists told the SCMP.

The claims should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt until we see the system in action — especially after the so-called room-temperature superconductor debacle.

Still, it's not outside the realm of possibility — because really, why not?

More on China: NASA Head Concerned That China Will Steal Lunar Resources

The post Chinese Military Says It’s Figured Out How to Build Laser Weapons That Can Fire Indefinitely appeared first on Futurism.

Is this article about Art?

whether its digital art, music, etc. 95% is just techniques to realize or get close to what one has in imagination.

you can have very creative pictures in your mind but the hard part is knowing how to use photoshop etc. to achieve it.

that's technique, expertise, nothing to do with creavitiy.

in countries like 



, and i think in most Anglo countries also, "creative" arts have the LOWEST entry requirement in universities.

in china, "arts" are the dumping ground for the lowest achieved students with the lowest scores and often the least motivated in terms of studying, while top ones go for STEM.

what AI art/music allows if one can get have the idea, ACTUAL, creative idea, and don't have to spend 2-3 years studying how to use some software, and achieve it by just talking to the AI in natural language. and this will get better and better over time.

i laugh out loud whenever i see some normie thinking "creative" arts is actually creative. they're bottom tier majors in most countries for very good reasons.

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Scientists Shocked That Middle School Is Horrible If You’re Ugly and Bad at Sports
Is this article about Neuroscience?
A study of middle school students found that those who are unattractive and unathletic get bullied — but we've got questions of our own.

This week in the department of "no duh": we have a recent paper out of Florida Atlantic University that has determined — to the shock of no one who ever attended middle school — that adolescent life is much harder if you're not attractive or good at sports.

Titled "The Perils of Not Being Attractive or Athletic: Pathways to Adolescent Adjustment Difficulties Through Escalating Unpopularity," this new paper published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence looks at the way middle school students think about themselves and their peers. Spoiler alert: in spite of reports that kids these days are a little nicer, these tykes sound totally mean.

The longitudinal study focused on nearly 600 kids from unidentified areas in both Florida and 


 who were aged 10 to 13 at the beginning of the research. Conducted over a 12-week academic year, the adolescent participants were asked three times per week to both identify which of their classmates were unattractive, unpopular, and unathletic and also to self-report their own feelings of loneliness and instances of alcohol misuse.

The findings were grim, though probably not terribly surprising for such a brutal age. As study author and FAU psychology Ph.D. student Mary Page James noted in the school's synopsis of the research, those who weren't deemed attractive and/or athletic appeared to be punished by their peers.

"Despite widespread public messages about body acceptance," James said, "the adolescent social world is often still quite unforgiving."

Contrary to certain stereotypes, the researchers found that this punitive effect happened with boys as much as girls.

"Being unattractive harms the popularity of boys as much as it does that of girls," James continued, "and being unathletic is an important contributor to low popularity among girls, just as it is among boys."

That said, some intrinsically weird to be grouping middle school kids into categories like "attractive" or "not athletic," and you can't help but wonder if those terms and assumptions might have steered the outcome.

While it's not discussed in the paper's summary or non-paywalled preview, the survey itself could also easily have had an outsize effect on its results because, as anyone who's ever been a middle schooler or been around them knows, gossiping can have a contagion effect.

And at the end of the day, the ethics of asking middle schoolers to repeatedly narc on who's hot or popular are just kind of bizarre. Especially when the takeaway at the end is that kids are still a bunch of bullies.

More on attractiveness: Turns Out Weight Lifting Is Really Good for Your Skin

The post Scientists Shocked That Middle School Is Horrible If You’re Ugly and Bad at Sports appeared first on Futurism.

Can you change a Brexit state of mind?

If departing the 


 has failed to deliver, why is 

the UK

 still so divided? Seven years on, we ask behavioural psychologists if cognitive dissonance can be overcome

One of the most significant political events of the past few months, it has seemed to me, wasn’t strictly a bit of politics at all, but an emotional catch and quaver in the voice of a politician. The politician was the Conservative MP Steve Baker and the sudden sob in his throat came about during a TV interview about the efforts to resolve the Northern Ireland protocol.

Baker, you will recall, was one of the most strident voices in the Brexit argument, a leader of the Tory European Research group, the ERG, which frustrated Theresa May’s efforts to find a compromise deal with the EU. The sob in his voice and the tears in his eyes prefaced a short, heartfelt confession about the extreme private stress that those Brexit machinations – and subsequent arguments over Covid lockdown – had caused him. Speaking subsequently to the Times, Baker expanded on that state of mind. “I felt absolutely worthless,” he said. “I felt repugnant, hateful, to blame for all of the troubles that we had, absolutely without any joy, constantly worried about everything to the point of mental torment. A constant state of panic attacks and anxiety. It’s not a state anyone should live in.”

Continue reading…
‘Only AI made it possible’: scientists hail breakthrough in tracking British wildlife

Technology proves able to identify dozens of species in thousands of hours of recordings

Researchers have developed arrays of AI-controlled cameras and microphones to identify animals and birds and to monitor their movements in the wild – technology, they say, that should help tackle 


’s growing biodiversity problem.

The robot monitors have been tested at three sites and have captured sounds and images from which computers were able to identify specific species and map their locations. Dozens of different birds were recognised from their songs while foxes, deer, hedgehogs and bats were pinpointed and identified by AI analysis. No human observers are involved.

Continue reading…
How hardworking microbes ferment cabbage into kimchi
Ingredients, temperature, time all affect the microbial activity that fuels fermentation — and how fermented foods taste. As kimchi ferments, the flavors will change over time.

An age-old technique transforms vegetables and spices into a popular condiment with a zesty, funky taste. The key? Nurturing the right community of microbes. Here's how the magic happens.

(Image credit: Meredith Rizzo for NPR)

Researchers create 3D-printed vegan seafood
In the refrigerated grocery store aisle, meat alternatives greatly outnumber plant-based seafoods. But more mock seafood options are needed because of unsustainable fishing and aquaculture practices, which can deplete the supply and harm the environment.
Catching Immortality
Catching Immortality

Hi everyone, just thought I’d introduce myself and our site called Catching Immortality, which I thought might be of interest to some people in this community.

We want to help people to live, longer, happier, healthier lives.

We aim to bring people the latest news in anti-aging research and emerging technologies.

We also want everyone to understand what’s happening in Longevity Science, and the incredible progress being made.

Looking forward to connecting.

Regards Nick from Catching Immortality

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So, one of the many cool things going around right now is Barium Sulfate cooling panels, which act in the exact same way greenhouses dont: they reflect away visible light, and emit infrared. (greenhouses obviously let visible light though, and reflect infrared) This cool paper has tons of details:,sky%20window%20emissivity%20of%200.96.

So, if you have a surface that emits ~100 watts per square meter, and an atmosphere with a heat capacity of ~700 joules per kilogram, and a weight of ~5.5 quadrillion tons ~908 kg per ton, and You come up with the ability to cool the atmosphere by ~1K per year with the surface area of ~1/8th the Sahara desert.

If the coating is 150 microns thick (as the paper suggests is possible) that comes out to ~150 million cubic meters of paint, which means you need about ~30 million cement mixers filled with the stuff to paint that large of an area.

If this video is to be believed, the material in question can be purchased for $4000 per ton. You would have to turn that into a paint, of course, but lets just fudge that part. But at 4.5grams per CC, or 4500 kg per cubic meter, that comes out to 20,000 bucks per cubic meter, thus 3 trillion dollars of barium sulfate paint.

Obviously I am ignoring heat transfer between the ground and the atmosphere, and the ocean and the atmosphere, and of course we also have to assume the atmosphere is 'well mixed' and cools evenly. (or your cooling panels are spread out a tad) And of course as the temperature drops, the panels become less effective, partly because radiation is to the 4th power of temperature, and partly because after a decade or two of 1k per year of cooling they would get covered with glaciers.

I am obviously not suggesting this as a serious thing to do (covering the same area in solar panels might be a more efficient use of space), but it was fun to calculate it out, and it does help put into perspective one of the ways you could cool a planet, if you were worried about such things. And if you are worried about such things, it is important to consider all possible methods… if we are currently gaining 0.018 degree C ( ) every year, then perhaps ~60 billion dollars worth of paint should be about able to cancel out our current warming trend. Seems relatively cheap to me, but feel free to double check my math.

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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32
Is this article about Energy?
A chronological listing of news and opinion articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Aug 6, 2023 thru Sat, Aug 12, 2023.

Story of the Week

With Temperature and Other Climate Extremes Shattering Records, Should We Call it 'Global Boiling'? 'Weirding'? Or…?

The U.N. Secretary-General says the era of 'global boiling' has arrived. Is that over the top, or an effective metaphor? Climate scientists, communication experts, and others weigh in. 




Broad swaths of Earth's seas are running very hot right now, as seen in this map showing how sea surface temperatures on July 30, 2023 compared to the long-term average. (Credit: Climate Reanalyzer)

At a news conference a few days ago, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced that July will go down as the warmest month on record. And it won't be remotely close.

"We don't have to wait for the end of the month to know this," he said, speaking on July 27. "Short of a mini ice age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board." Continuing, he said, "Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning."

Then he used a stunning metaphor to drive home what we humans are doing to planet Earth: "The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived."

Since my first story about climate change in 1984, I've heard all manner of rhetorical attempts to describe it in just a few words. But this one really took me aback. I've long believed that "doomist" rhetoric prompts many people to flee, rather than fight for a sustainable future.

There's a fair amount of support for this view. For example, Per Espen Stocknes, a psychologist and economist at the Norwegian Business School, has written extensively about it (for example, here), arguing that doomist rhetoric backfires. In a Ted Talk that's been viewed nearly 100,000 times on Youtube, he summarizes why he holds this view:

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Discover Magazine website. 

With Temperature and Other Climate Extremes Shattering Records, Should We Call it 'Global Boiling'? 'Weirding'? Or…? by Tom Yulsman, Environment, Discover Magazine, July 31, 2023


Articles posted on Facebook

Sunday, Aug 6, 2023

Monday, Aug 7, 2023

Tuesday, Aug 8, 2023

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2023

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023

Friday Aug 11, 2023

Saturday Aug 12, 2023


AUG 12

Tributes paid to government data scientist killed in cycle crash in Italy

Susannah Boddie, 27, who advised on Covid response, thrown from bike on downhill trail near Lake Garda

Tributes have been paid to a government scientist who helped steer 


 through the Covid pandemic after she died in a cycling crash in 


 aged 27.

Susannah Boddie was thrown from her bike as she descended a steep downhill trail on a woodland path on the Brescia side of Lake Garda on Saturday morning, the Daily Mail reported.

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