ASOS is banning silk, but is it really unethical to wear? | Quartzy


ASOS, the popular and rapidly growing British online fashion retailer, has announced a major new change in the products it will—or rather won’t—carry.

Under pressure from the animal-welfare group PETA, the company has joined the likes of Zara, H&M, Gap, and others in ditching mohair, but it’s also going a few steps further.

The company’s new policy will ban products using cashmere, silk, feathers (including down), bone, horn, shell (including mother of pearl), and teeth from ASOS’s websites too. It will be fully in effect by the end of January 2019.

But one banned material in the list has caused some to pause: Silk, which is made by silkworms.

Source: ASOS is banning silk, but is it really unethical to wear? — Quartzy

Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine


Anna Capaldo, a research biologist at the University of Naples Federico II, and her colleagues put eels into water with very small levels of cocaine—about the same as that found in some rivers. They found the eels appeared hyperactive but showed the same general health as drug-free eels. But their bodies told a different story.

They found the drug accumulates in the brain, muscles, gills, skin, and other tissues of the eels. The muscle of the fish also showed swelling and even breakdowns, and the hormones that regulate their physiology changed.

Source: Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine

This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart. | Vox


What should we eat to live a long and healthy life?

Researchers’ answers to this question have often been contradictory and confusing. But in recent decades, one diet has attracted the lion’s share of research dollars and public attention: the Mediterranean way of eating. And in 2013, its scientific cred was secured with PREDIMED, one of the most important recent diet studies published.

The study’s delicious conclusion was that eating as the Spanish, Italian, and Greeks do — dousing food in olive oil and loading up on fish, nuts, and fresh produce — cuts cardiovascular disease risk by a third. As Stanford University health researcher (and nutrition science critic) John Ioannidis put it: “It was the best. The best of the best.”

Not anymore.

Last week, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine pulled the original paper from the record, issuing a rare retraction. It also republished a new version of PREDIMED, based on a reanalysis of the data that accounted for the missteps.

Source: This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart. – Vox

3DFS’s technology for electricity could double the efficiency of the power grid | Vox


So we’re wasting electricity on the grid. Where does it go?

In a nutshell, the electricity gets converted to heat or vibration instead of useful energy services (or “cold beer and hot showers,” in the lingo.

This low-level waste happens from the moment electricity is generated at a power plant to the moment it enters your iPhone. The generators that create it, the transmission lines that carry it to transformers and distribution systems, which carry it to buildings and electrical panels, which carry it to devices, which convert it to services — all along the way, everything heats up, hums, and vibrates. That’s electricity being thrown off as heat and kinetic energy.

Source: 3DFS’s technology for electricity could double the efficiency of the power grid – Vox

Does the US need a Space Force?


Access to outer space and space-derived data is becoming increasingly important to the national and economic security of the United States and its allies.

Yet that access is increasingly at risk due to the growth of orbital debris and the development of anti-satellite capabilities by potential adversaries like Russia and China.

Source: Safeguarding the heavens: The United States and the future of norms of behavior in outer space

Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate | AAAS


Marine conservation and addressing climate change are out. Jobs and national security are in.

That’s just one message sent by a new executive order detailing a revised U.S. oceans policy released today by President Donald Trump.

The order formally revokes the 2010 oceans policy issued by President Barack Obama, and replaces it with a markedly different template for what the U.S. government should focus on in managing the nation’s oceans, coastal waters and Great Lakes.

Source: Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate | Science | AAAS

Palm oil to be phased out in EU by 2030 | EURACTIV.com


Under the new regime, which will begin in 2020, EU member states will no longer have to meet a certain percentage of their renewable energy obligations through the use of food-based biofuel. Campaigners have been urging a change to the law for many years, saying it is displacing food crops and causing environmental damage by creating an artificial market for biofuel in Europe.

They have also said the land use change from growing the biofuel crops is causing more emissions than the biofuels abate in their use for transport.

Source: Palm oil to be phased out in EU by 2030 – EURACTIV.com

What Trump’s Space Force Announcement Means | Nextgov


It wasn’t immediately clear just what parts of the Pentagon’s sprawling space endeavors would be swept into this new outfit.

Most of the Navy’s space-and-satellite work falls under the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, based in San Diego, while the Army has its Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Ala. But the bulk of the military’s space efforts are handled by the Air Force — specifically Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. — and it has been the air service that has fought hardest against the idea.

It wasn’t even clear whether the new service branch would have its own secretary, putting it on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force — or would occupy a lower tier, like the Marine Corps.

Source: What Trump’s Space Force Announcement Means – Nextgov

Scientists Observe Interaction Between Bacteria and DNA, Gain Insight into Antibiotic Resistance


Researchers are using a new method to observe for the first time how bacteria “hooks” onto DNA to rapidly evolve new traits like antibiotic resistance.

Indiana University (IU) researchers recorded the first images of bacterial appendages called pili–which is about 10,000 times thinner than human hair- as they stretched out to catch DNA that is then incorporated into the bacteria’s own genome through a process called DNA uptake or horizontal gene transfer.

Source: Scientists Observe Interaction Between Bacteria and DNA, Gain Insight into Antibiotic Resistance

The Self-Assembling Battery | Design News


In an ordinary battery, the anode and cathode are more or less parallel to each other on either side of a non-conducting separator that also contains the electrolyte. If the components could be integrated into 3D architectures on the nanoscale, it has been suggested that batteries could be built with improved power capability. But traditional fabrication techniques haven’t allowed such architectures to be explored.

The idea from the Cornell group is to intertwine the components into a self-assembling, three-dimensional gyroid structure. The structure includes thousands of nanoscale micro-pores that are filled with the components needed to allow energy storage and delivery. The self-assembly refers to the ability of the gyroid structure to organize and grow based upon the arrangement of its nanoscale components.

Source: The Self-Assembling Battery | Design News