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Europe's 'dark telescope' makes progress
22 September 2019 - Europe's space mission to uncover the secrets of the 'dark Universe' has reached a key milestone. Euclid, due for launch in 2022, will map the cosmos for clues to the nature of dark matter and dark energy. These phenomena appear to control the shape and expansion of the Universe but virtually nothing is known about them. (more)

Colt will stop making AR-15 rifles for consumers
21 September 2019 - Colt, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle, has announced it's exiting the consumer rifle market as demand for high-powered, semi-automatic guns wanes. The type of firearm has come under scrutiny because it's the weapon of choice for mass shooters. The gunmen in the Aurora (Colorado), Las Vegas, and Dayton (Ohio) shootings, among many others, used AR-15-style weapons. (more)

Walmart ends all handgun ammunition sales
21 September 2019 - Walmart on Tuesday [3 September] announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after ... a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures. ... 'It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,' Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday. (more)

Factbox: India, South Korea latest to take steps on e-cigarettes
21 September 2019 - South Korea and India this week were the latest countries after Brazil and Thailand to ban or warn about the sale of e-cigarettes, the latest global blows to a vaping industry under pressure over growing health concerns. The Indian ban, which also covers the production, import, and advertising of e-cigarettes, cuts off a huge future market from e-cigarette makers at a time when the number of people smoking worldwide is declining. (more)

Giant balloon structures found at the center of the Milky Way
21 September 2019 - A pair of towering, hourglass-like balloons have been discovered at the heart of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, according to a new study. They are some of the largest features ever observed at the galactic center and researchers were able to detect them because they're emitting radio waves. To understand the scale of these giant bubbles, they extend for hundreds of light-years above and below the center of the Milky Way. But how did they get there? (more)

Tide turns against vaping as India bans sales, China sites pull Juul
21 September 2019 - India became the latest country to ban electronic cigarettes only days after Juul Labs Inc.'s products vanished from online Chinese marketplaces, a sign Asian nations may be no refuge for the industry from an escalating crackdown in the U.S. (more)

UK: Coleg Cambria boosts rare goat numbers with breeding programme
21 September 2019 - A college is helping to boost numbers of a rare breed of goat with six kids born at one of its campuses this year. In 2010 the breed was listed as 'critically endangered', meaning there were fewer than 100 breeding nannies in the UK. The first record of the breed in the UK appears in historical documents from 1389. (more)

Honey project brings sweet success for families in Zambia
20 September 2019 - Beehives built out of scrap wood in the country's virgin forests have reaped rewards for 10,000 local families. A former hedge fund manager has become one of Africa's most prolific single-source honey producers through a social enterprise that impacts thousands of families. [Former trader Martin] Zuch said environmental concerns are also central to the project, explaining that lack of pesticides greatly increases the taste of the honey, enough of which is left in each hive to sustain production. (more)

Netherlands: Dutch take cycling to a new level, with world's biggest multistorey bike park
20 September 2019 - In a nation with more bikes than people, finding a space to park can be a problem. The Dutch city of Utrecht is unveiling an answer at its railway station on Monday [19 August] morning: the world's largest multistorey parking area for bicycles. (more)

India bans e-cigarettes as global vaping backlash grows
19 September 2019 - India has announced a ban on electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide about a technology promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco. The announcement by India on Wednesday [18 September] came a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths. (more)

In rural Appalachia, beekeeping offers a new path for coal miners
19 September 2019 - Nearly 40 percent of coal jobs disappeared over the past decade. The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is offering West Virginians a new future. Appalachian Beekeeping Collective ... teaches people in rural West Virginia how to keep bees for profit. The Collective provides its graduates with free bees, hives, and routine mentoring, collects and bottles their honey, and sells it for them at $25 a jar. Now in its second year, the Collective includes 34 beekeepers. (more)

From fine dining to $1 school lunches - the top chef trying to change how Americans eat
19 September 2019 - When Dan Giusti was head chef at Denmark's Michelin-starred Noma, regularly voted one of the world's best restaurants, he served intricately prepared dishes with locally sourced ingredients and lavish prices. Now he feeds thousands of underprivileged children at public schools in the United States, offering wholesome meals on a budget of $1 apiece through his consultancy firm Brigaid, which last week began training cafeteria staff at nine more schools. (more)

India bans e-cigarettes as global backlash at vaping gathers pace
18 September 2019 - India banned the sale of electronic cigarettes on Wednesday [18 September] and warned of an 'epidemic' among young people, in the latest and potentially biggest move globally against vaping over growing health concerns. (more)

Regular aerobic exercise may slow progression to Alzheimer's for those most at risk
17 September 2019 - A half hour of aerobic exercise four to five times a week may prevent or slow cognitive decline in older adults who are at a high risk of developing Alzheimer's, according to a study published Tuesday [17 September] in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. (more)

US: Cornell's medical school debuts free education for students who qualify for financial aid
17 September 2019 - Students may graduate medical school with a new title but often leave with something else: Massive student loans. Cornell University's medical school announced Monday [16 September] that won't be the case for many of its students because it's offering a free education to all who qualify for financial aid. The school isn't just covering courses, though. Future doctors who qualify won't have to borrow money for housing, books, food, or other related expenses either -- it's all covered by scholarships. (more)

US: New York state ban on flavored e-cigarettes given final approval
17 September 2019 - New York became the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes on Tuesday [17 September] after its Democratic governor called for emergency action in response to concerns about their rising use among teens and a nationwide spate of lung illnesses. New York is the second state in the nation to introduce such a ban, after Michigan did so earlier this month. (more)

Cornell's Medical School offers full rides in battle over student debt
16 September 2019 - Concerned that young doctors were being driven by financial pressures to become specialists rather than practice pediatrics or family medicine, some prominent universities have begun using major gifts from donors to relieve students from having to borrow to pay tuition. On Monday [16 September], Cornell University went even further. Its medical school, Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, announced that all students who qualify for financial aid will get a full ride: All costs will be covered by scholarships, including tuition, room and board, books, and other educational expenses. (more)

Most massive neutron star ever detected strains the limits of physics
16 September 2019 - Astronomers have detected the most massive neutron star ever, and it almost shouldn't even exist. Neutron stars are the smallest in the universe, with a diameter comparable to the size of a city like Chicago or Atlanta. They are the leftover remnants of supernovae. But they are incredibly dense, with masses bigger than that of our sun. So think of the sun, compressed into a major city. The researchers weren't necessarily looking for this neutron star. Rather, it was happenstance as they searched for gravitational waves. (more)

US: Pennsylvania's largest solar energy project to help fuel Penn State University for 25 years
16 September 2019 - Penn State students joined Governor Tom Wolf and [Pennsylvania State University] President Eric Barron at a ceremony launching Penn State's newest and biggest eco-friendly initiative -- a 70-megawatt, off-site solar energy project that will provide 25 percent of the university's purchased electricity over the next 25 years. (more)

US: New York to ban flavored e-cigarettes after illnesses, deaths
15 September 2019 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday [15 September] announced a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes besides tobacco and menthol in response to a recent nationwide spate of sometimes deadly lung illnesses that U.S. health officials have linked to vaping. Governor Cuomo said vaping was dangerous and that he was concerned fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes were leading young people to get hooked on nicotine. (more)

On a sunny day this German factory runs completely on solar power
13 September 2019 - Multinational tech firm ABB claims to have opened a factory that can generate all of its energy needs via solar power. In May 2019, Zurich-headquartered ABB unveiled what it described as a CO2-neutral factory in the town of Luedenscheid, Germany. The site employs around 800 people to manufacture electrical equipment ... (more)

US: Michigan poised to nearly quadruple its solar power capacity
13 September 2019 - The Michigan Public Service Commission has given the green light to a case settlement between Consumers Energy and independent solar companies that could dramatically increase solar power in Michigan. (more)

British supermarket Sainsbury's vows to halve plastic packaging by 2025
12 September 2019 - Britain's second-biggest supermarket, Sainsbury's, vowed on Friday [13 September] to halve plastic packaging by 2025, promising to switch to alternative materials and refillable options to meet consumer demand for less waste. (more)

Scientists detect tones in the ringing of a newborn black hole for the first time
12 September 2019 - If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself 'ring' in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverbates sound waves. Einstein predicted that the particular pitch and decay of these gravitational waves should be a direct signature of the newly formed black hole's mass and spin. (more)

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