Hello and welcome to The Edge, the newsletter that brings you groundbreaking stories from the frontiers of technology and science.
We’ve got some great stories for you today including a proposal to farm fish on the Moon, glow-in-the-dark sharks and new research about the Earth’s core. As always, we’ve added extra stories under each article should you find yourself in a curious state of mind.
Today in history
What happened on March 6th in the past?
March 6th, 1899 - Aspirin is registered as a trademark by Bayer.
March 6th, 1964 - Constantine II becomes the last king of Greece.
March 6th, 1992 - The first computers get infected by the Michelangelo computer virus.
What lurks beneath?
The dark depths. Image credit: NASA via Unsplash
Everyone knows the Earth has four layers: starting from the centre, it goes inner core, outer core, mantle and then the crust. Right?
Possibly not. According to new research by a team of scientists from The Australian National University, things might not be what they seem. According to the team, the inner core has yet another core buried within it. This extra inner core may be the result of a dramatic event early in the history of Earth.
Joanne Stephenson, PhD researcher at ANU and lead author of a paper on the topic: “We found evidence that may indicate a change in the structure of iron, which suggests perhaps two separate cooling events in Earth’s history. The details of this big event are still a bit of a mystery, but we’ve added another piece of the puzzle when it comes to our knowledge of the Earths’ inner core.”
The theory of an inner core was proposed decades ago, but data on the topic was limited in quality. Using search algorithms, the team was able to trawl through thousands of models of the inner core, ultimately leading to the discovery.
The research is fascinating and means that the textbooks might need to be re-written sometime soon.
Other incredible stories from the world of science and technology.
Neuroscience in the future.
The 5G piece missing from the cloud gaming puzzle.
Gone lunar fishin’
A fisherman’s paradise. Image credit: Thomas Somme via Unsplash
The European Space Agency is planning a Moon Village, with food being one of the main concern in its development. A team of French scientists from the Montpellier University Space Centre and the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea has come up with a proposal to solve this issue.
Specifically, they want to farm fish on the Moon by using live eggs from Earth, and water from the lunar surface. It’s about as out there as plans get. However, the scientists have learned that the fish could survive the trip were they to put this idea into action.
To test the idea, the team of scientists packed meagre and seabass eggs into machinery that shook and moved, the idea being to recreate the environment of a blast-off in a Soyuz rocket. 95% of the meagre eggs and 76% of the seabags eggs survived the ordeal and still hatched.
The research is exciting for two reasons. Not only could it improve the diets of humans on the Moon, but the fish farms will likely also make life in the Moon Village more reminiscent of home.
Video of the Week
“Why eating healthy is so expensive in America”
Eating healthy isn’t easy. However, in few countries is this more the case than America. So why is healthy food so expensive in the U.S?
The short answer is that processed food low in nutritional value is cheaper and quicker to produce. There’s a lot more to it than that though, all of which is explained in this great Vox video.
Recently, there’s been a surge in humorous deep fake AI tools that let you bring faces to life. These systems can bring pictures to life by turning still faces into moving videos. Now, Deep Nostalgia can do the same with old, black-and-white pictures you have of family members.
Image credit: Deep Nostalgia
Deep Nostalgia is the result of a partnership between MyHeritage and D-ID, the latter a company specialising in video reenactment based on deep learning. Uploading a picture to the platform will let you bring those photos to life like never before.
Nature never disappoints
Glow up. Image credit: J. Mallefet - FNRS, UCLOUVAI
Our oceans never cease to amaze. A team of researchers in New Zealand have found yet another surprise in the depths of our mostly unexplored oceans: three glow-in-the-dark shark species.
The researchers found that the southern lanternshark, the kite fin shark and the blackbelly lanternshark all share the ability to give off a bioluminescent glow.
Especially the kitefin is interesting. The kite fin is now the the largest known bioluminescent underwater animal, peaking at up to 1,83 metres in length. The kitefin feeds on smaller sharks and crustaceans 300 metres below the surface, in a region known as the “twilight zone”.
The researchers, who worked with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Wellington, New Zealand, argue that the glow is a form of camouflage. The glow effectively prevents them from being backlit from bright light coming from above.
Other glow-in-the-dark aquatic species have been found, like jellyfish and squid. This is however the first time that glowing sharks have been found. Once again, we’re just how little we know about our own oceans.
What we’ve been reading
A small selection of the articles we read this week.
Thanks for reading!
We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Edge.