space exploration, environment, Japan, world's first wooden satellite, fighting pollution
Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED)

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Japan to Launch World’s First Wooden Satellite to Combat Space Pollution (Maria)

The author writes, “Japanese scientists have created one of the world’s most unusual spacecraft — a tiny satellite that is made of timber. The LignoSat probe has been built of magnolia wood, which, in experiments carried out on the International Space Station (ISS), was found to be particularly stable and resistant to cracking. Now plans are being finalized for it to be launched on a US rocket this summer. … ‘All the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles, which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years,’ Takao Doi, a Japanese astronaut and aerospace engineer with Kyoto University, warned recently. ‘Eventually, it will affect the environment of the Earth.’”

Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Signs His New State Legislative Maps Into Law (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed new legislative district maps into law on Monday that he proposed and that the Republicans who control the Legislature passed to avoid having the liberal-controlled state Supreme Court draw the lines. Democrats hailed the signing as a major political victory in the swing state where the Legislature has been firmly under Republican control for more than a decade, even as Democrats have won 14 of the past 17 statewide elections.”

14 GOP-led States Have Turned Down Federal Money to Feed Low-Income Kids in the Summer. Here’s Why (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “Lower-income families with school-age kids can get help from the federal government paying for groceries this summer, unless they live in one of the 14 states that have said no to joining the program this year. The reasons for the rejections, all from states with Republican governors, include philosophical objections to welfare programs, technical challenges due to aging computer systems and satisfaction with other summer nutrition programs reaching far fewer children.”

The Twisted Tale of Indianapolis’s White River (Laura)

From Sierra: “Once considered one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, the White River has been neglected and abused for 200 years. Can it make a comeback?”

The Moral Panic Over Ozempic Misses the Point (Russ)

From Intelligencer: “The media has made the drugs about body politics and our obsession with thinness. That’s the wrong story.”

When It Comes to Pot, a ‘Big Concern’ About Driving (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Amid increasing marijuana legalization over the past two decades or so, both medicinal and recreational, has come a spike in accompanying car accidents. According to a 2021 study in the American Journal of Public Health, the percentage of car-crash fatalities tied to cannabis was just 9% in 2000; in 2018, it bumped up to 21.5% — and contributing to the problem is that it’s not exactly clear for cannabis users when it’s safe to get behind the wheel after smoking a joint or downing an edible.”

Is Alien Space Travel Limited by the Speed of Light? (Sean)

From Big Think: “For all types of matter and energy that exist in the Universe, there’s a limit to how quickly each and every quantum can move through the fabric of space: the limiting speed of light. While that might seem like the incontrovertible speed limit for any spacefaring civilization, no matter how advanced, there are a few clever tricks, mostly involving general relativity, that might circumvent it. Is it possible to leave point ‘A’ and arrive at point ‘B’ in less time than it would take to travel from ‘A’ to ‘B’ at the speed of light? If so, alien civilizations may have already gotten there. Here’s how.”


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