The US military is testing stratospheric balloons that ride the wind so they never have to come down

The US military is testing stratospheric balloons that ride the wind so they never have to come down

The idea of a balloon that floats high up above Earth indefinitely is a tantalizing one. Solar power would allow such stratospheric balloons to operate like low-cost satellites at the edge of space, where they could provide communication in remote or disaster-hit area, follow hurricanes, or monitor pollution at sea. One day, they could even take tourists on near-space trips to see the curvature of the planet.

Continue reading…

More great content like this @ Science & Space Front Page or you can Request Invite

Advertisements

Cars without drivers still need a moral compass. But what kind?

Cars without drivers still need a moral compass. But what kind?

Loved by some philosophers, loathed by others, the so-called trolley problem is the quintessential moral puzzle. A runaway train is heading towards five people tied to a track. You can change a signal, diverting the train down a spur, so saving five lives. Unfortunately, one person is on the spur, and would die. What should you do? Most people – young and old, rich and poor – believe you should divert the train.

Continue reading…

More great content like this @ Science & Space Front Page or you can Request Invite

Maybe Next Time: Barnard’s Star B is Likely Uninhabitable

Maybe Next Time: Barnard’s Star B is Likely Uninhabitable

Put on your friendliest face and say hello to the newest member of our planetary neighborhood: Barnard’s star b. An international team led by researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science announced today that they’ve detected an exoplanet orbiting Barnard’s star, the closest single star to Earth at just six light-years away. The astronomers calculate the newfound world, dubbed Barnard’s star b, to be about 3.2 times the mass of Earth and to orbit its host star once every 233 days.

Continue reading…

More great content like this @ Science & Space Front Page or you can Request Invite

People who are religious and ‘ontologically confused’ are more likely to share pseudo-profound bullshit

People who are religious and 'ontologically confused' are more likely to share pseudo-profound bullshit

A new study has found that the more literally a person understands metaphorical statements and the more religious they are, the more likely they are to share pseudo-profound bullshit on social media. The new research, published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, replicated Gordon Pennycook’s 2015 study on bullshit receptivity — meaning the propensity to interpret nonsensical sentences as profound statements — using a sample from two Eastern European countries.

Continue reading…

More great content like this @ Science & Space Front Page or you can Request Invite

‘Cut lamb and beef’ to fight climate change

'Cut lamb and beef' to fight climate change

The number of sheep and cattle in the UK should be reduced by between a fifth and a half to help combat climate change, a report says. The shift is needed, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) maintains, because beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gases. The report foresees an increase in the number of pigs and chickens because these produce less methane. The farm union NFU said it did not agree with reducing livestock numbers.

Continue reading…

More great content like this @ Science & Space Front Page or you can Request Invite