The ESA’s concept art for a lunar base. Source: ESA
The European Space Agency just reminded the world that it wants to build a base on the moon by 2030, using 3-D printed parts made from materials found on the lunar surface.
The ESA has some competition. Earlier this month, Congress passed a spending bill that would give NASA $55 million to build a space habitat for deep-space exploration, including both the space within the moon’s orbit and, eventually, Mars. The only catch: NASA has 180 days to show what it’s going to be.
It’s a global space race to live on the moon. Around 26 nations want to figure out what that’s going to look like.
In the past, NASA has been a big fan of expandable, inflatable modules, like the ones made by Bigelow Aerospace. The ESA’s concept art shows buildings made out of the natural elements found on the lunar surface. This idea isn’t far-fetched; product designers have used sand to print in the past.
Discoveries in the past decade have revealed more about the people for whom Stonehenge and nearby monuments held great meaning.
AMESBURY, England — About 6,300 years ago, a tree here toppled over.
For the ancients in this part of southern England, it created a prime real estate opportunity — next to a spring and near attractive hunting grounds.
According to David Jacques, an archaeologist at the University of Buckingham, mud was pressed into the pulled-up roots, turning them into a wall. Nearby, a post was inserted into a hole, and that may have held up a roof of reeds or animal skin.
It was, he said, a house, one of the earliest in England.
Last month, in the latest excavation at a site known as Blick Mead, Mr. Jacques and his team dug a trench 40 feet long, 23 feet wide and 5 feet deep, examining this structure and its surroundings. They found a hearth with chunks of heat-cracked flint, pieces of bone, flakes of flint used for arrowheads and cutting tools, and ocher pods that may have been used as a pigment.
“There’s noise here,” Mr. Jacques said, imagining the goings-on in 4300 B.C. “There’s people here doing stuff. Just like us. Same kids and worries.”
About a mile away is Stonehenge.
For Mr. Jacques, the house is part of the story of Stonehenge, even though the occupants of the Blick Mead home never saw that assemblage of massive stones. The beginnings of Stonehenge were more than a millennium in the future.
But Blick Mead, he said, helps fill in the sweep of hunter-gatherers who became farmers and then built Stonehenge and other prehistoric monuments dotting the English countryside.
“This is the first unknown chapter of Stonehenge,” Mr. Jacques said.
The basilica, the only one of its kind in the world, was excavated from solid tufa volcanic rock on the outskirts of the imperial capital in the first century AD.
Lavishly decorated with stucco reliefs of gods, goddesses, panthers, winged cherubs and pygmies, it was discovered by accident in 1917 during the construction of a railway line from Rome to Cassino, a town to the south. An underground passageway caved in, revealing the entrance to the hidden chamber.
A painstaking restoration that has been going on for years has now reached the point where the 40ft-long basilica can be opened to visitors.
The subterranean basilica, which predates Christianity, was built by a rich Roman family who were devotees of a little-known cult called Neopythagoreanism.
Originating in the first century BC, it was a school of mystical Hellenistic philosophy that preached asceticism and was based on the writings of Pythagoras and Plato.
It didn’t take all that much to tip a great civilization into the shackles of empire.
Rome holds a special place in the popular imagination. Cast as a culture steeped in myth, with values reminiscent of our own, it is often treated as the forebearer of our own political system, an ancestral democracy that provides a republican link between the present and the ancient past. From architecture to literature to political system, Rome is where it all began.
But in his latest book, Richard Alston wants us all to think a little more critically about our beloved Rome.
Alston is a Professor of Roman History at the University of London’s Royal Holloway, and the inspiration for Rome’s Revolution: Death of the Republic and Birth of the Empire came from his own dissatisfaction with the existing body of work on Roman politics. He saw how the idealized vision of Roman culture that these works present influenced the way his students thought about Rome. “Somehow,” Alston writes in the preface, “it was all too nice … but the Roman accounts of their revolution are anything but nice. They were shocked and shocking.”
Eating a healthier diet rich in fruit and vegetables could actually be more harmful to the environment than consuming some meat, a US study has claimed.
Lettuce is “over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”, according to researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University who analysed the impact per calorie of different foods in terms of energy cost, water use and emissions.
Published in the Environment Systems and Decisions journal, the study goes against the grain of recent calls for humans to quit eating meat to curb climate change.
Researchers did not argue against the idea people should be eating less meat, or the fact that livestock contributes to an enormous proportion of global emissions – up to 51 per cent according to some studies.
But they found that eating only the recommended “healthier” foods prescribed in recent advice from the US Department of Agriculture increased a person’s impact on the environment across all three factors – even when overall calorie intake was reduced.
Because it makes manipulating genes so much easier, CRISPR offers researchers the ability to rapidly accelerate studies of many types of illness, including cancers, autism, and AIDS. CREDITPHOTOGRAPH BY MAX WHITTAKER/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY
It is distressing, but a fact, that the more rapidly any technology is adopted by scientists the more likely it is to leave people confused, anxious, and suspicious. This week, I wrote an article for the magazine about just such a revolutionary technique, called CRISPR, that permits scientists to edit the DNA of plants and animals with an ease and a precision that even a decade ago seemed inconceivable.
CRISPR research has already begun to transform molecular biology. There have been bold new claims about its promise and powers nearly every day. Yet, for the past fifty years, at least since Watson and Crick demonstrated that DNA contained the blueprints required to build everything alive, modern science has been caught in a hype trap. After all, if we possess such exquisitely detailed instructions, shouldn’t they be able to help us fix the broken genes that cause so many of our diseases?
The assumption has long been that the answer is yes. And for decades, we have been told (by the medical establishment, by pharmaceutical companies, and, sadly, by the press) that our knowledge of genetics will soon help us solve nearly every malady, whether it affects humans, other animals, or plants.
It turns out, however, that genetics and magic are two different things. Deciphering the blueprints in the three billion pairs of chemical letters which make up the human genome has been even more complex than anyone had imagined. And even though the advances have been real, and often dramatic, it doesn’t always seem that way. This has led many people to discount, and even fear, our most promising technologies. Somehow, we take lessons more readily from movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Gattaca” than from the very real, though largely incremental, advances in medical treatments.
They started late one night, the tremors that shook Michael Harding’s whole body when he lay down to sleep. “A bit weird,” thought Harding, then a 23-year-old Australian soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Just days before, he’d been in an hours-long siege in which his second-in-command was shot and killed.
Harding soon started shaking so much that he had to ask a friend to light his cigarettes. He couldn’t drink water from a bottle without pouring it down his shirt, and in the mess hall, his twitches got so spastic that he’d sometimes flip his tray.
He was medically discharged from the army in 2012 with severe PTSD and left with a new personality: withdrawn and unemotional. His sleep suffered, too. He had nightmares and night sweats.
To handle his worsening symptoms, Harding tried two kinds of talk therapy, four kinds of medication, and large nightly doses of scotch and Coke. When each of those failed, he turned to yoga, juicing, meditation and medicinal pot. That helped a little, but Harding’s anxiety and muscle spasms still hadn’t abated.
Around that time, his wife did what any desperate person would: she started poking around in online forums for something else that may help with his PTSD. She found glowing testimonials for floating, the practice of lying belly-up in a tank filled with warm water so salty you float.
US military developing radical ‘tail-sitter’ drone that lands anywhere
PHOTO: US Navy and US federal government/ Mail Online
The design for a flying-wing tail sitter drone which lands on its tail, has been revealed by the Northrop Grumman Corporation in the United States.
The drone, which the company says does not require a runway to land, has the ability to land anywhere on its tail.
The design is part of Northrop’s proposal for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Tern programme.
According to FlightGlobal, DARPA plans to ink a contract in January to build and fly a full-scale prototype from a barge or decommissioned navy ship, says Chris Hernandez, senior vice-president of research, technology and advanced design for Northrop.
Northrop’s tail sitter design includes a set of large counter-rotating propellers covering almost two-thirds of a roughly 9.14m (30ft)-diameter wingspan and it carries weapons and sensors as stores underneath the wing, reveals Hernandez.
Eating your placenta sounds like something only Kim Kardashian would do – but Prospect Heights mother Jennifer Mayer, 32, has been encapsulating the afterbirths of hundreds of New York mothers to treat postpartum depression and boost energy for the past five years. Here’s her personal experience eating the fruit of her labor, in her own words.
My first baby was born a year ago, and I prepared my own placenta the day after his birth.
It doesn’t taste like anything in capsule form. I slice it, dehydrate it and fill it into a capsule about the size of a vitamin, and place the pills in a blue glass bottle. If anything, it might smell a little metallic. You know, like blood.
So far the science on eating placenta is mostly anecdotal; women sharing their personal experiences of it helping with their baby blues. My clients say it increases their energy. Taking a capsule gives them a boost equal to a cup of coffee or a green juice — which, if you have a newborn, is pretty awesome. And there are studies from the turn of the century that show dehydrated placenta did increase milk supply in breastfeeding moms.
But I do have friends who get a little grossed out about it. I have one friend in particular who asks me, “Jen, any time you have to talk about eating placenta, can you just say ‘polenta?’”
Return of the fans: New ‘Star Wars’ film sparking tourism in Arizona city
PHOENIX — While the world may be ramping up for the newest chapter in the “Star Wars” saga, one Arizona city is enjoying a jump in tourism thanks to its part in the series’ origins.
“Within the last six months or so, I’ve gotten a substantial uptick in the number of folks looking for photos and so forth,” Ann Walker with the Yuma Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Part of “Return of the Jedi,” the third film in the saga, was filmed in the sand dunes in the desert west of Yuma. As the excitement for “The Force Awakens” builds, some fans are heading to the city where the nearby battle on Jabba the Hutt’s barge was filmed back in 1983.
Alex Morgan Gets Real About Her Goals: I Want to ‘Become the Best Player in the World’
BY TIERNEY MCAFEE
Alex Morgan in SELF magazine / JACOB SUTTON
At 26, soccer superstar Alex Morgan has already scored so many of her lifelong goals – she made the U.S. women’s national team, won an Olympic gold medal, and won the World Cup. But the striker, who’s easily one of the fastest players on her team, shows no signs of slowing down.
“I’ll play for as long as my body can last at this level,” Morgan says in her cover story for the January/February issue of SELFmagazine. “My goal is to become the best player in the world.”
So far, she seems to be on the right track. At 22, Morgan became the youngest member of Team USA. Since then she has landed 52 goals in 91 international games. At the 2012 Olympics, she scored the game-winning goal in the last 45 seconds of the semi-final. And last July, she helped lead her team to a stunning victory against Japan in the World Cup final.
Now she’s got her eye on a different prize – empowering young female readers and athletes through her new book series The Kicks.
“I want young girls to dream about being professional soccer players instead of just watching the boys go out and play,” she says. “It’s about seeing girls be confident in what they want to pursue.”
LOS ANGELES — Steven Spielberg said on Wednesday that he and his DreamWorks Studios would join Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One to form an entertainment company called Amblin Partners to produce movies, television shows and digital content.
At the same time, Universal Pictures said it would distribute films from the new company, beginning with “The Girl on the Train,” to be directed by Tate Taylor with Emily Blunt in a lead role, in October 2016.
The new venture, which will be based on the Universal lot, appears poised to absorb and redirect the creative output of DreamWorks Studios, which has distributed its films under a deal with the Walt Disney Company since 2009. That distribution arrangement was set to expire next August.
Amblin Partners also will become an exclusive vehicle for Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, including a television division that is already making 13 episodes of the series “American Gothic” to air on CBS next summer. Further, the new company will produce many, though not all, of the films, television shows and other projects developed by Participant Media, an issues-oriented media company owned by the entrepreneur Jeff Skoll.
Andy Warhol’s Hamptons Estate Sells for a Record $50 Million
J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler owned the Montauk property, which housed famous figures like the Rolling Stones
By CANDACE TAYLOR Andy Warhol bought the estate in the 1970s.PHOTO: GAMMA-RAPHO/GETTY IMAGES
The former Andy Warhol estate in Montauk—a collection of white-shingled cottages overlooking the ocean—has sold for $50 million, believed to be a record for the former fishing village.
The buyer of the roughly 5.7-acre oceanfront compound, called “Eothen,” was Adam Lindemann, founder of the gallery Venus Over Manhattan. The property had been listed together with a 24-acre horse farm for $85 million, but Mr. Lindemann wasn’t interested in the horse farm, and it is still available, said Paul Brennan of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who listed the property with Sotheby’s International Realty. The seller was J.Crew CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler, who bought the property for $27.5 million in 2007, according to public records.
Those who are liberal in their use of swear words are not the lazy and uneducated individuals they are often made out to be, a new study claims.
In fact, a well-stocked vocabulary of swear words is actually a healthy indicator of other verbal abilities.
Writing in the Language Sciences journal, US-based psychologists Kristin Jay and Timothy Jay, dismiss the long-held belief that swearing is a sign of inarticulateness.
Working with the “poverty of vocabulary” concept (the assumption that people swear because they lack the intellectual capacity to find another way to express themselves) their experiment aimed to find out whether those more fluent in the art of swearing are less fluent in other forms of vocabulary.
Pulling in $1.76 million at the “Driven by Disruption” sale, the Porsche thoroughly surpassed predictions but was dwarfed by a 1972 Lamborghini Miura which sold for $2.42 million.
At the RM Sotheby’s “Driven By Disruption” auction in Manhattan, a 1964 Porsche 356 C 1600 SC Cabriolet that was owned and customized by Janis Joplin sold for $1.76 million. As previously reported, the coupe was estimated to sell for roughly $500,000 but with seven bidders competing far surpassed those expectations.
The staggering sale price sets a benchmark as the highest price ever paid for a Porsche 356 at public auction. Pearl, as Joplin was often called, bought the German auto at a used car lot in 1968.