The Plague That Makes You Dance To Death

The Dancing Plague of 1518 was an event that caused more than 400 people to dance in the streets of Strasbourg, France for 2 months, leading to the deaths of dozens of people. This really happened.

Some of the solutions for the Dancing Plague include ergot poisoning, mind-controlling parasites similar to toxoplasma gondii or the cordyceps fungus, and mass hysteria, also known as mass psychogenic illness. Many also attribute the Dancing Plague to St. Vitus, and have called it the Plague of St. Vitus.

Science Stories You’ll Be Hearing About In 2019

2018 was a big year for science and technology, and 2019 is shaping up to be more of the same. Here’s some of the big science stories we’ll be following in the coming year.

On May 20th of this year, the scientific community will be redefining four metric units of measurement, the kilogram, the Kelvin, the mole, and the ampere.

The Event Horizon telescope is an attempt to image the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A. The telescopes actually did the imaging last year, and the team is in the process of collecting the data and analyzing it, but the expectation is that this year we should get, for the first time, an actual image of a black hole

in the first half of the year, Tesla will finally unveil their long-awaited $35,000 baseline Model 3, but it’s also expected sometime this year that Tesla will unveil the Model Y, their crossover model based on the Model 3 platform. and a lot of people are also speculating that at the Model Y reveal, Elon may do a “one more thing” thing and introduce the Tesla pickup.

Other EVs that will be released in 2019 include the Audi e-Tron, the Mercedes EQC, an update for BMW’s i3 with a larger battery, the Jaguar iPace, the Volvo XC40, the Porche Taycan, the Kia e-Niro, The Kia Soul EV, the Hyundai Ioniq, and the Mini Electric.

New Horizons, the probe that sent us those amazing pictures of Pluto back in 2015, is now flying through the Kuiper belt, and just passed the asteroid Ultima Thule, which we’ll be getting detailed images from this year

Hayabusa2 from JAXA will collect soil samples from the asteroid Ryugu this year.

Similarly the Osiris Rex mission from NASA arrived at the asteroid Bennu just about a month ago on December 3rd and will spend 2019 scanning and imaging Bennu.

The Parker Solar Probe will make 2 flybys of the sun this year, one in April and one in September.

There’s also a slew of moon landings coming this year that are worth following.

ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organization plans to land on the moon with Chandrayaan-2 which they expected to launch last year but it’s been pushed back to January 31st.

But before that, the Chinese National Space Administration landed Change’4, which actually launched in December, on the far side of the moon.

SpaceX plans to start performing hopper tests this year for their Starship, previously known as BFR,

But perhaps no piece of news or space related event this year can come close to the first tests of the SpaceX Dragon 2 capsule that will finally return the US to manned missions to space.

At the same time, the Boeing Starliner capsule will see space for the first time in March with an uncrewed demo mission, followed by a scheduled manned mission in August of 2019.

The New Wave Of Flying Cars

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Watch a science fiction film and you’re sure to see a flying car. We’ve been dreaming of flying cars since before there were even cars. But it’s always been just a bit out of reach. Today, several companies are working on using drone technology to create personal flying vehicles. Here’s some of the most promising.

The PAL-V Liberty is a gyrocopter that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018. You need a pilot’s license to fly it, and it can’t lift off and land vertically, you need a little forward momentum to drive. It runs on regular gasoline and can get 37 miles per gallon on the ground and 310 miles in the air.

https://www.pal-v.com/en/good-to-know].

The company Kitty Hawk, financed by Google co-founder Larry page, has introduced the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is basically a giant jet ski featuring 10 open rotary blades and pontoons instead of wheels, so you have to land on water. It’s a battery electric vehicle that’s computer controlled so that literally anybody could fly one of these things.
http://evtol.news/2018/07/12/kitty-ha…

The Flyer will be followed up with the Cora, a 2-seater vertical take off and landing vehicle (VTOL) that works like an air taxi. It’s also fully electric and can carry 400 pounds of people and cargo at a max speed of 110 miles per hour.
http://evtol.news/aircraft/kitty-hawk…

The Terrafugia Transition has foldable wings that spread out when it’s time to fly. Changeover from driving takes about a minute, and it costs around $400,000. You also need a pilot’s license to fly the Transition.
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/…
https://terrafugia.com/transition/#fe…

DeLorean Aerospace is run by the nephew of the famous John Delorean of Back to the Future fame. They’re working on a VTOL vehicle with a cool design.
http://www.deloreanaerospace.com/

Urban Aeronautics out of Israel has a couple of models they are working on, including the X-Hawk powered by two ducted fans carrying only two passengers. The Cityhawk is a larger variant that could be used for urban rescue missions.

http://www.urbanaero.com/category/x-hawk

4 Megaprojects That Could Reverse Climate Change

Climate change is happening, and time is running out to turn it around. The IPCC’s most recent report gives us about 10 years to reverse our carbon emissions. We’re not going to get there by reducing our emissions alone. Here are 4 megaprojects that could actually save the planet.

Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage Biomass is the burning of biological material (usually plant matter) to generate energy. BECCS scrubs the CO2 out of the exhaust and sequesters it underground, thus taking CO2 out of the air via that plants and putting it into the ground.

Direct Air Capture With DAC, giant carbon scrubbers pull CO2 out of the air, after which the CO2 can be used to produce other items like fuel. Two companies that are leading in this field are Carbon Engineering and Climeworks. Stratospheric Aerosol Injection SAI is, basically, creating an artificial volcano. The Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 cooled the planet by half a degree for 18 months. By flying a fleet of SAI Lofters (SAILs) regularly into the upper atmosphere, we could spread particulates around the planet and cool the atmosphere.

Space Solar Shield By creating a giant solar shield at the L1 Lagrange point, we could block up to 2% of the sun’s rays, enough to alter the amount of heat getting trapped by the atmosphere.

How Atomic Bombs Help Catch Art Forgeries

Art forgery is a multi-million dollar business, one that museums and appraisers are constantly battling. But there is one technique they’ve found to foil forgers that’s near foolproof – and it involves atomic bombs.

Wolfgang Beltracchi is an artist who got his start as a forger of classic masters like Picasso, Van Gogh, and others. But he and those in his business found a foil in Peggy Guggenheim, Dr. Elena Basner, and a cadre of scientists that found a technique that searches for traces of the isotopes cesium-137 and strontium-90.

The reason is that these isotopes are only created by fission of Uranium 235, and between 1945 and 1963, 522 open-air atomic bomb blasts scattered these isotopes into the atmosphere, which then got into the soil, made its way into flax plants, which were used to create linseed oil, which was used as a binding agent in paint.

So if a painting shows traces of these isotopes in the paint, there is no way that it was created before 1945.

This technique has foiled hundreds of art forgers in the years since and has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges for future Wolfgang Baltracchis.

Can Dyson Reinvent The Electric Car?

James Dyson is the inventor and innovator behind the bagless vacuum, air blade hand dryers, blameless fans, and more luxury home appliances. His approach has revolutionized multiple industries. Now, he sets his sights on an electric car.