Billions of galaxies visible thanks to great big camera and all the other good news you missed this week

9 mins
28 Oct 2022
Billions of galaxies visible thanks to great big camera and all the other good news you missed this week

Just a bunch of great news to end the week on...

image NASA

words Rhys Thomas

Fancy a load of reasons to be cheerful? A cascade of delightful news that’ll help you look on the bright side of life, uplift your WhatsApp groups and remind you of the joys and wonders this planet has to offer? Look no further, because Serotonin Splash is here to round up the best in feel-good culture from around the world.

Hello! Another week complete, woah, congratulations. If you're looking for a little splash of the good feelings to help you into the weekend you so throughly deserve, then look no further, here it comes...

Science Says

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  • Nasa found a picture of the sun smiling, yup move over man on the moon, we now also have a smile on the sun. Well, temporarily, "these dark patches on the Sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space" according to Nasa.

  • Bees do things for pleasure. Turns out it isn't all work, new findings published in the journal Animal Behaviour suggests that bumblebees enjoy rolling around wooden balls just because it’s fun. Good for them!

  • Nightmares can be halted by playing sounds. That's right, scientists have found that by playing piano sounds during therapy, and then listening to them again while sleeping, it can reduce and stop nightmares.

  • Astronomers unveiled world’s biggest digital camera. It's able to capture detail 266 times better than iPhones, which would be overkill for a selfie, but might help us discover billions of galaxies over the next decade. Huge.

  • New mammal just dropped. The UK's first new mammal species in a century is the 'greater white-toothed shrew' which sounds like an unsightly cross between a shark and a mouse, but actually it's a very cute looking thing. There's a bunch of them in Sunderland, and they're the most northern greater white-toothed shrews in the world.

  • Insects can electrify the air the same way thunderstorms can. So most things have an electrical charge of sorts, and it's been discovered that when insets like honeybees and locusts swarm, it can actually create electrical fields as strong as thunderstorms. Talk about small but mighty.

  • DNA from 54,000 years ago has been traced to a Neanderthal family in a cave in Siberia. A father, teenage daughter, and some other close relatives were found in Chagyrskaya Cave near the Kazakhstan border (a hotspot for finding this sort of thing). The finding isn't only remarkable for how old the remains are, but because it will allow to use genetics to study the "social organisations of a Neanderthal community" for the first time.

  • Robot fish can eat micro plastics from rivers. Plastics and microplastics in the water are bad, but now we can just chomp it all away thanks to a 3D robot fish called Gillbert. Gills, get it? The Robot Fish was designed by Eleanor Mackintosh, a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Surrey. It's a sort of filter really, and as it swims, water passes through while trapping all the plastic particles.

That's the science for this week.

As for Wellness...

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  • Psychedelics are potentially being licensed for recreational use in San Francisco. They were made legal in Denver, Colorado back in 2019, but now they're possibly going to be licensed for recreational use in the Golden City, just like substances like cannabis and alcohol are in many parts of the USA.

  • Dark matter could hold key to changing role of cancer treatment, according to new research from The Institute of Cancer Research. The research is still in very early stages but essentially dark matter in this sense is something technically known as epigenetics. Previously science has focussed on gene mutation being the thing that cancer generally grows from. Epigenetics is the study of something within us that controls access to genes and mutations (like an invisible switch or signal), and science thinks looking at these changes in the body, which are prompted by environment and lifestyle factors, could allow greater accuracy into treatments for cancer.

  • Magic mushrooms being piloted to treat eating disorders in Australia. Psilocybin is known to help with many mental health illnesses, and now a team of researchers is looking to assess whether the substance can help with issues around body dysmorphia and eating disorders. The researchers have been rewarded with a $25,000 Australian Dollar grant from the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre.

  • Meanwhile in neighbouring New Zealand, telemedicine abortions have been given the go-ahead. This means people will be able to obtain medication to assist an abortion (within the first ten weeks of pregnancy) via a phone consultation, making the service more accessible for those who need it.

  • Germany is strongly considering legalising weed. Back on Wednesday (my dudes) the German Health Minister announced that they have plans to decriminalise possession of up to 30g of cannabis and to also allow a controlled market of sellers so that people can legally purchase their buds. It still needs approval by the cabinet, and to find a way to fit into European Union law, though.

  • STI tests now available from free vending machines in Bristol and the surrounding areas. Four venues will host the machines which will distribute free STI test kits for many infections including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis. Test results are delivered by text within three weeks.

  • Listening to birdsong reduces paranoia and anxiety according to a new report in the scientific journal nature.com. The evidence specifically shows improvement on mood and paranoid symptoms. Apparently, those more in touch with nature can benefit even more from the results than the average person, too. Tweet that.

Culture

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  • Yes, that is boxing champion Tyson Fury singing Sweet Caroline in a studio with proper microphones and a band and all sorts. It's his first ever music single, and the proceeds are going to a mental health charity. So good, so good, so good.

  • The grandson of a reader (presumably) returned a library book 84 years late. Realistically the fine should've been thousands of pounds, but as the fee back then was one old penny a week, the fine came in at £18.27. Not bad!

  • In 2021, a report found that racism was rife across the music industry. As of 2023, it's been announced that an anti-racism code of conduct is going to be implemented. It was designed by those behind the organisation Black Lives Matter, and aims to cover issues around pay, inclusion, and safety for Black, Asian and ethnically diverse members of the industry.

  • A new study says that video games (in moderation) make children more intelligent. The large-scale study shows that games like Minecraft and Fortnite can boost intelligence. It might well do the same for adults, but the researchers stress that this is all in moderation and that going outside and things like that are necessary too.

  • Studies suggest that if you want to eat meat but also want to save the world, then you can. Reducing meat consumption to two burgers a week is absolutely fine, apparently. And you know, two patties a week isn't too bad really! The research was conducted by the Systems Change Lab.

  • Man we do be loving those vapes. While the jury is still deciding on health implications, there's a positive for the planet. You can now recycle a lot of them at supermarkets across the country. There's a lot of potential waste in disposables, so this is very welcome news as far as the climate is concerned.

  • Nigeria is experiencing some of the worst flooding they've seen in a decade. Fortunately, here is a list of ways to help people experiencing the flooding. The floods have been attributed to the climate crisis, but at least we can try to help.

  • NEW SUCCESSION! YES. HBO Max have dropped the trailer, you can watch it here. and we can expect the goods to arrive in Spring 2023. Something to look forward to (and a good few months for you to catch up on seasons one, two and three).

  • In France, people who practise the discipline of getting from one place to another place in the fastest, most efficient way possible using just their anatomy (that's parkour, by the way) are using their gymnastic and artistic skills to save the planet. How? They're mounting high buildings and turning off some street lights at night (in France, street lights can be turned off from a switch usually mounted on a wall).

Fashion

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