Since its launch in the spring of 2009, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has been hunting exoplanets. The holy grail being a planet that is essentially like ours in terms of size, composition, and habitability: an Earth-twin. While we still haven’t found a planet that exactly fits that bill, Kepler has now confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet in its star’s habitable zone.
Young Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland. The young Somali students reside in the Dadaab refugee camp, in north-eastern Kenya. It is home to nearly 400,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled conflict, drought and famine in Somalia over the last 23 years. Care International, the aid agency that provides many basic services at the camp, organised the pen pal exchange and delivered the handwritten letters to Syrian children at the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.They offer messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice to their “dear brothers and sisters”.
I recently had the opportunity to work with a great guy named Jose Delgado, Jr., a 53-year old who was born without most of his left hand. I made a 3D printed prosthetic hand for Jose and, after using it for a while, I asked him to give me some honest feedback about how it compares to his more expensive myoelectric prosthesis. This is obviously not an “apples to apples” comparison in terms of the devices, but the real value of a prosthesis comes from how useful it is on a day-to-day basis, and that is the focus of the comparison here.
This 3D printed prosthesis is a completely mechanical design. There are a series of non-flexible cords running along the underside of each finger, connecting to a “tensioning block” on the top rear of the device (the “gauntlet”). The tension is caused by bending the wrist downward. With the wrist in its natural resting position, the fingers are extended, with a natural inward curve. When the wrist is bent 20-30 degrees downward, the non-flexible cords are pulled, causing the fingers and thumb to bend inwards. A second series of flexible cords run along the tops of the fingers, causing the fingers to return automatically when tension is released.
3D printers are coming down in price rapidly. As of today, you can get a self-assembly kit starting at around a few hundred dollars, and a fully assembled “prosumer” level printer is going for around $1000-$2000. In other words, this kind of technology is becoming very accessible, and it’s opening up some very exciting possibilities!
A big thanks to the great work of those who contributed to the e-NABLE Hand prosthesis (aka the “Cyborg Beast”), including Jorge Zuniga, Frankie Flood, Ivan Owen, David Orgeman, and others in the e-NABLE community.
Iranian photographer Hossein Fatemi, offers a glimpse of an entirely different side to Iran than the image usually broadcasted by domestic and foreign media. In his photo series An Iranian Journey, many of the photographs reveal an Iran that most people never see, presenting an eye-opening look at the amazing diversity and contrasts that exist in the country.
Really loving all these photo sets that offer views of people that challenge our expectations.
There are 30 million blood transfusions every year in the United States; 107 million worldwide. Due to its universal acceptance, Type O negative is the most highly sought-after blood type. Only about 7% of the population has O negative blood, and its rarity makes it a fairly hot commodity. However, it looks like there will soon be a viable alternative, as blood created from stem cells is nearly ready for human clinical trials.
The past two decades have seen major progress in global health, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study—an ambitious worldwide project involving Harvard School of Public Health faculty and many others. While life expectancy has risen, however, the burden of disease has shifted, as people are living longer and getting sicker more often. Our graphic with Harvard School of Public Health details where we’ve come and what still must be done.
Located in Hamelin’s Pool, a shallow area of Shark Bay in Western Australia, these odd formations aren’t rocks—they’re stromatolites, and they were built over millennia by single-celled cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). 4,000 to 6,000 years ago, a huge bank of seagrass began to block the tidal flow into Hamelin’s Pool, which meant that the water became twice as salty as the open ocean. Animals like snails and chitons that would usually feed on the algae couldn’t survive, so the blue-green algae began to flourish. Gathered in colonies, they trapped sediment with their sticky surface coatings. This sediment reacted with calcium carbonate in the water and formed limestone, essentially creating a living fossil—this limestone is alive, its top surface layer teeming with active cyanobacteria. The limestone builds up slowly at a rate of about 1mm per year. The stromatolites in Shark Bay are estimated to be between 3,000 and 2,000 years old, but they’re similar to life forms in Precambrian times, 3.5 billion years ago, at the dawn of complex organisms. There are over 50 kinds of cyanobacteria in Shark Bay, and one is thought to have descended from an organism that lived nearly 2 million years ago, making it a part of one of the longest biological lineages.
TheMali Empiregained direct control over the city of Timbuktu in 1324 during the reign of MansaKankou Musa also known as Musa I “King of Kings”. He designed and saw the construction of one of Sankore’s first great mosques and the Jingeray Ber Masjid in 1327.The foundations of the previous structure were laid around 988 A.D. on the orders of the city’s chief judge Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. A local mandinka lady, esteemed for her wealth, financed his plans to turn Sankoré into a world class learning institution.
By the end of Mansa Musa’s reign (early 14th century CE), the Sankoré Masjid had been converted into a fully staffed Madrassa (Islamic school or in this case university) with the largest collections of books in Africa since the Library of Alexandria. The level of learning at Timbuktu’s Sankoré University was superior to that of all other Islamic centers in the world. The Sankoré Masjid was capable of housing 25,000 students and had one of the largest libraries in the world with between 400,000 to 700,000 manuscripts.
Today, the intellectual legacy of Timbuktu is neglected in historical discourse. These pages of WORLD history tend to get ripped out. .
Part of the issue in the recent wars in Timbuktu was the local people trying to protect this legacy from soldiers who wanted to destroy the remaining artifacts.