The Happy Sappy Grown-Up Hour

Further Reading For Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo

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Why losing Arecibo is a big deal for astronomy

On December 1, the 900-metric ton platform of scientific instruments suspended above the Arecibo telescope crashed down into the dish. The disaster marks the end of Arecibo’s 57-year tenure as one of the world’s premier radio telescopes.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
03 dec pfizer
Everything you need to know about the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine

UK regulators have authorised a covid-19 vaccine created by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for emergency use, meaning that vaccine rollout is planned to begin soon. Here, we answer questions about the science of the vaccine, who will get it first, how confident we can be in the authorisation process and the logistics of vaccinating everyone in the UK.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
Drug reverses age-related mental decline within days, mouse study shows
Rapid rejuvenation of mental faculties in aged mice implicates reversible physiological 'blockage' behind age-related cognitive losses
Just a few doses of an experimental drug can reverse age-related declines in memory and mental flexibility in mice, according to a new study. The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome, prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer, and even enhance cognition in healthy animals.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
04 dec hayabusa 2
The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to deliver asteroid rocks to Earth

Hayabusa 2 is about to attempt an audacious feat. The Japanese spacecraft, which launched towards the asteroid Ryugu in 2014, is on its way back to Earth carrying two samples of rocks and dust from the asteroid’s surface. To get these samples back to Earth, Hayabusa 2 will skim past the planet and drop its sample capsule from space on a trajectory that should land it in Australia early on 6 December local time. The sample capsule has no thrusters, so accuracy is key here.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
03 dec change 5
China's Chang'e 5 is bringing back the first moon rocks in 44 years

Chang’e 5 is on the last leg of its mission on the moon. After a visit to the lunar surface lasting less than 48 hours, it is back in orbit around the moon and ready to bring its samples home so that scientists on Earth can analyse them.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
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What social distancing does to a fish brain
Scientists discover a neuropeptide that reflects the current state of a fish's social environment
Researchers have discovered a brain molecule that functions as a 'thermometer' for the presence of others in an animal's environment. Zebrafish 'feel' the presence of others via mechanosensation and water movements -- which turns the brain hormone on.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
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It is bad science to say covid-19 infections will create herd immunity

AS I write this, my 19-year-old son is self-isolating in his university room with symptoms of covid-19, awaiting test results. He is quite poorly, though overwhelmingly likely to make a full recovery. But I worry that he will be one of the few young adults who get seriously ill or even die, or end up with long-term health problems.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo
Jab
UK approves Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for rollout next week

The UK has become the first country to approve the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, paving the way for immunisations to begin in the most vulnerable next week.   (more...)
From Episode: The Virus And The Vaccine, An Age-Reversing Drug, Space Mining and So Long Arecibo