[rExplorers Wanted: Media Invited to Experience Artemis Astronaut Training NASA is offering media a glimpse of astronaut training at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday, Feb. 25, before the application process opens March 2 for the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts. Source: NASA Breaking news http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/explorers-wanted-media-invited-to-experience-artemis-astronaut-training
[rMedia Invited to Inside Look at NASA Marine Cloud Study Media are invited to preview a NASA airborne science campaign to help improve weather and climate predictions at 9 a.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 25, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Source: NASA Breaking news http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/media-invited-to-inside-look-at-nasa-marine-cloud-study
Enough Air Pollution: Extinction Rebellion UK stage die-in at the Science Museum
- 11am today: the Science Museum’s Making the Modern World gallery was transformed into the stage for a die-in to draw attention to illegal levels of air-pollution in the UK.
- Children taking part in the protest wore bespoke pollution masks made by crass artist Gee Vaucher, 3D – Massive Attack, Fashion Designer Bella Freud, artist and sculptor Gavin Turk and Turner Prize Winning artist Jeremy Deller.
- The museum was chosen in response to the Science Museum Group’s active promotion of cultural sponsorship by fossil fuel companies and acceptance of oil sponsorship for its children’s gallery, Wonderlab.
- This Saturday: Enough is Enough: Together We March – multiple groups concerned about the climate and ecological emergency will come together to say enough harm, enough innaction, enough division.
From 11am today, Extinction Rebellion UK turned the Making the Modern World gallery at the Science Museum in London into the scene of a die-in to highlight the effects of air pollution on our and our children’s health. The Science Museum Group accepts sponsorships from fossil fuel companies, with it’s children’s gallery Wonderlab sponsored by Norwegian energy company Equinor.
Wearing masks that read “Enough is Enough on Air Pollution,” and holding banners with facts demonstrating the links between air-pollution and serious health conditions, the diverse group which includes children as young as two, lay down in silence for 20 minutes. Once the die-in was concluded the silence was broken with speeches from parents, concerned about their children’s future.
Children taking part in the protest wore bespoke pollution masks made by crass artist Gee Vaucher, 3D – Massive Attack, Fashion Designer Bella Freud, artist and sculptor Gavin Turk and Turner Prize Winning artist Jeremy Deller. The masks were donated by the artists to Extinction Rebellion UK and will be auctioned later this year. The proceeds will be split between Extinction Rebellion and other groups working directly to end the harm caused to children by air pollution.
In 2015, Margaret Chan, former Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), stated that WHO estimates that over 7 million people die from air pollution each year, making it the largest single environmental risk to health globally. Four and a half million of these deaths are due to outdoor air pollution. 
Each year in the UK, around 40,000 premature deaths are attributable to long term exposure to outdoor air pollution . This is more than 100 deaths per day from cardiovascular problems, strokes and respiratory disease. There are around 9,400 excess deaths a year in London due to long term exposure to air pollution (from combined effect of PM2.5 particulates and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)).  Other health effects of long term exposure to air pollution include an increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, diabetes, and low birth weight and poor lung development in children.
The British government has repeatedly failed to tackle illegal levels of air pollution, and in May 2017 the UK was referred to the European Court of Justice over failure to take effective action. 
The families protesting today call on the government to start taking action now to reduce pollution levels in the UK. They demand that public and private institutions like the Science Museum declare a climate emergency, cut ties with the fossil fuel industry and tell the truth to the public about the climate and ecological emergency we are facing.
Juliana Westcott, mother of two from Lewisham, said: “I want my children, two and four years old, to be able to grow up in this amazing city without this meaning that I am putting their health at risk. We don’t want to leave the city – our lives are here in London – but it breaks my heart to know that when I go back home today, their lungs will be full with so much pollution from what was just supposed to be a fun family day out in a museum.”
Miranda Irwin, mother of two and teacher, said: “Air pollution is a social justice issue. It’s silently poisoning our children and the poorest and most vulnerable in our society have no choice but to live and breathe in the worst affected areas.”
Dr Terry Matthews, a member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, said: “Breathing illegal toxic air from fossil fuel combustion causes deaths and hospital admissions from heart attacks, strokes and asthma. Air pollution also increases the risk of dementia, impaired brain function and depression; and miscarriage and infertility. Child development is delayed and child lung development can be reduced by around one tenth.
“As we are surrounded by families today, my heart goes out to the most vulnerable who will suffer for many years to come from our failure to act on air pollution.”
Notes to editors
 WHO Director-General addresses event on climate change and health https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2015/climate-change-paris/en/
 Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution
 Understanding Health Impacts of Air Pollution in London https://data.gov.uk/dataset/52b7f9ec-f7fa-46ea-ab88-dc30e0752061/understanding-health-impacts-of-air-pollution-in-london
 UK taken to Europe’s highest court over air pollution https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/17/uk-taken-to-europes-highest-court-over-air-pollution
About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.
The post Enough Air Pollution: Extinction Rebellion UK stage die-in at the Science Museum appeared first on Extinction Rebellion.
Exotrail Secures Contract with AAC Clyde Space to equip their customers' spacecrafts Paris, France (SPX) Feb 20, 2020
Exotrail, a French company dedicated to providing innovative on-orbit transportation solutions for the small satellite market have signed a contract with AAC Clyde Space, Europe’s leading nanosatellite solutions specialist. Exotrail will equip them with cutting-edge propulsion solutions for their customers, including global satellite telecommunications leader Eutelsat for its ELO 3 and ELO Source: NanoDaily.com https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Exotrail_Secures_Contract_with_AAC_Clyde_Space_to_equip_their_customers_spacecrafts_999.html
Nanoracks Completes 17th Commercial Space Station CubeSat Deployment Mission Webster TX (SPX) Feb 20, 2020
Nanoracks, the world’s leading provider of commercial access to space, has completed the Company’s 17th CubeSat deployment mission from the International Space Station using commercially developed and operated hardware. Nanoracks was the first company to offer commercial hardware and services for small satellite deployment in low-Earth orbit. Nanoracks’ 17th CubeSat deployment mission incl Source: NanoDaily.com https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Nanoracks_Completes_17th_Commercial_Space_Station_CubeSat_Deployment_Mission_999.html
The online wellness industry: why it’s so difficult to regulate
Netflix recently released Gwyneth Paltrow’s new six-part series, The Goop Lab. Each episode explores an area of the wellness industry, including psychedelics, cold therapy, lifestyle interventions, female pleasure and sexual healing. The series has received criticism from the scientific and medical community with experts concerned about Netflix legitimising pseudoscience and misinformation.
The backlash is unsurprising given that Paltrow’s brand has become synonymous with controversial products and treatments, such as jade eggs, Psychic Vampire Repellent and vaginal steaming. These concerns are accentuated given that Goop is valued at over US$250 million and represents part of the burgeoning billion-dollar wellness industry. The difficulty in regulating Goop’s controversial content, however, points to larger difficulties in regulating online health and wellness influencers.
Influencers document their lives and lifestyles on social media. The most lucrative health and wellness influencers achieve fame through curating an online persona on social media rather than through professional expertise. Although celebrities have traditionally been presented as inaccessible, by approaching everyday health and wellness issues, Paltrow is able to emulate social media influencers, whose public appeal is grounded in the perception of being ordinary, relatable and accessible.
Paltrow’s trust and credibility as a wellness guru stem from her apparent vulnerability. Strategic confessions that commodify pain and loss are designed to establish trust and intimacy. In the Netflix series, Paltrow reflects on the trauma induced by the emergency caesarean she had following the birth of her daughter, how terrible she feels during a “cleanse” and on her experiences “metabolising” pain. These communicative techniques set Paltrow apart from the jargon and professional distance required of medical professionals.
The triumph of opinion
Influencers claim to provide opinions rather than facts. They are able to monetise their personal lives and opinions, profiting from advertorials linked to stories of self-discovery and transformation. These self-documented journeys are difficult to verify.
Influencer marketing is relatively inconsequential when it comes to fashion, but advertorials based on personal experience are more problematic in the health and wellness sphere where unverified stories can negatively affect people’s health. In the second episode, for example, when one employee claims that cold therapy helped ease her anxiety and depression, anecdotal evidence is used to demonstrate the therapy’s validity. These stories of self-recovery can be deadly when they inspire people with cancer to reject conventional medicine in favour of alternative treatments.
Despite Goop’s disclaimer that the “series is designed to entertain and inform – not provide medical advice”, its content is designed to influence. The stories and experiences documented online drive consumers to the company’s website as they seek alternative ways to improve their wellbeing, enabling the company to “monetise those eyeballs”, as Paltrow declared.
The placebo effect
Part of the appeal of the wellness movement can be understood by the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment. The benefit cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself (the drug or treatment in question), but to the patient’s belief in the treatment.
Goop exploits the placebo effect, blurring the line between scientific research and folk knowledge, to attain credibility. Scientific concepts, such as blood platelets, microdosing, quantum theory’s double-slit experiment, molecules and subatomic particles, are used to validate the therapies canvassed in the series.
Scientific language is cherry picked as part of Goop’s marketing strategy to create products designed to make consumers “feel good in the modern age world”. A case in point is Goop’s body vibe wearable stickers that claim to “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies”. Although Goop was forced to remove claims that the patches were made with the same conductive carbon material Nasa uses to line space suits so they can track an astronaut’s vitals. The idea that people might feel better after wearing the stickers is harder to verify.
The Goop Lab uses Paltrow’s celebrity status to promote lifestyle interventions and alternative therapies. Presenting Paltrow as a friend and equal, strategic confessions and scientific language are interspersed to foster trust, intimacy and credibility. But opinions and anecdotes cannot replace evidence-based therapy.
The Goop Lab blurs the line between science and fantasy. Despite the show’s disclaimer that the series does “not provide medical advice”, in combining scientific expertise with folk knowledge and anecdotal experience, the programme obscures the distinction between entertainment and evidence in a way that proves difficult to regulate.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Great Barrier Reef on brink of third major coral bleaching in five years, scientists warn If ocean temperatures don’t drop in the next two weeks, heat stress could tip reef over into another widespread eventThe Great Barrier Reef could be heading for a third major coral bleaching outbreak in the space of five years if high ocean temperatures in the region do not drop in the next two weeks, scientists and conservationists have warned.Heat stress is already building across the world’s biggest reef system, with reports of patchy bleaching already occurring. But a major widespread event is not currently taking place. Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/20/great-barrier-reef-on-brink-of-third-major-coral-bleaching-in-five-years-scientists-warn
'They define the continent': nearly 150 eucalypt species recommended for threatened list Scientists’ call follows national assessment that finds gum trees in Western Australia wheat belt suffering worst rate of declineAn iconic Western Australian eucalypt, known for the size of flowers, is among almost 150 eucalpyt species scientists have recommended be listed as threatened under national environment laws.The eucalyptus macrocarpa, commonly known as mottlecah, has the largest flowers of all eucalypt species. The bright red flowers can measure up to 10cm in diameter. Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/20/they-define-the-continent-nearly-150-eucalypt-species-recommended-for-threatened-list
Ghost glaciers: the transcendent Anthropocene – in pictures Peter Funch’s latest photo-book, The Imperfect Atlas, explores human impact on the environment by using a technique invented at the height of the industrial revolution – RGB tri-colour separationsThe Imperfect Atlas is published by TBW Books Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2020/feb/20/glaciers-anthropocene-in-pictures-peter-funch-the-imperfect-atlas-rgb-tbw-books
What would happen if we all just stopped following rules?
I’m in my late twenties and I’m feeling more and more constrained by rules. From the endless signs that tell me to “stand on the right” on escalators or “skateboarding forbidden” in public places to all those unwritten societal rules such as the expectation that I should settle down, buy a house and have a family. Do we really need all these rules, why should I follow them and what would happen if we all ignored them? Will, 28, London
We all feel the oppressive presence of rules, both written and unwritten – it’s practically a rule of life. Public spaces, organisations, dinner parties, even relationships and casual conversations are rife with regulations and red tape that seemingly are there to dictate our every move. We rail against rules being an affront to our freedom, and argue that they’re “there to be broken”.
But as a behavioural scientist I believe that it is not really rules, norms and customs in general that are the problem – but the unjustified ones. The tricky and important bit, perhaps, is establishing the difference between the two.
A good place to start is to imagine life in a world without rules. Apart from our bodies following some very strict and complex biological laws, without which we’d all be doomed, the very words I’m writing now follow the rules of English. In Byronic moments of artistic individualism, I might dreamily think of liberating myself from them. But would this new linguistic freedom really do me any good or set my thoughts free?
This article is part of Life’s Big Questions
The Conversation’s new series, co-published with BBC Future, seeks to answer our readers’ nagging questions about life, love, death and the universe. We work with professional researchers who have dedicated their lives to uncovering new perspectives on the questions that shape our lives.
Some – Lewis Carroll in his poem Jabberwocky, for example – have made a success of a degree of literary anarchy. But on the whole, breaking away from the rules of my language makes me not so much unchained as incoherent.
Byron was a notorious rule breaker in his personal life, but he was also a stickler for rhyme and meter. In his poem, When We Two Parted, for example, Byron writes about forbidden love, a love that broke the rules, but does do so by precisely following some well-established poetic laws. And many would argue it is all the more powerful for it:
In secret we met
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?–
With silence and tears.
Consider, too, how rules are the essence of sport, games and puzzles – even when their entire purpose is supposedly fun. The rules of chess, say, can trigger a tantrum if I want to “castle” to get out of check, but find that they say I can’t; or if I find your pawn getting to my side of the board and turning into a queen, rook, knight or bishop. Similarly, find me a football fan who hasn’t at least once raged against the offside rule.
But chess or football without rules wouldn’t be chess or football – they would be entirely formless and meaningless activities. Indeed, a game with no rules is no game at all.
Lots of the norms of everyday life perform precisely the same function as the rules of games – telling us what “moves” we can, and can’t, make. The conventions of “pleases” and “thank yous” that seem so irksome to young children are indeed arbitrary – but the fact that we have some such conventions, and perhaps critically that we agree what they are, is part of what makes our social interactions run smoothly.
And rules about driving on the left or the right, stopping at red lights, queuing, not littering, picking up our dog’s deposits and so on fall into the same category. They are the building blocks of a harmonious society.
The call of chaos
Of course, there has long been an appetite among some people for a less formalised society, a society without government, a world where individual freedom takes precedence: an anarchy.
The trouble with anarchy, though, is that it is inherently unstable – humans continually, and spontaneously, generate new rules governing behaviour, communication and economic exchange, and they do so as rapidly as old rules are dismantled.
A few decades ago, the generic pronoun in written language was widely assumed to be male: he/him/his. That rule has, quite rightly, largely been overturned. Yet it has also been replaced – not by an absence of rules, but by a different and broader set of rules governing our use of pronouns.
Or let’s return to the case of sport. A game may start by kicking a pig’s bladder from one end of a village to another, with ill-defined teams, and potentially riotous violence. But it ends up, after a few centuries, with a hugely complex rule book dictating every detail of the game. We even create international governing bodies to oversee them.
The political economist Elinor Ostrom (who shared the Noble Prize for economics in 2009) observed the same phenomenon of spontaneous rule construction when people had collectively to manage common resources such as common land, fisheries, or water for irrigation.
She found that people collectively construct rules about, say, how many cattle a person can graze, where, and when; who gets how much water, and what should be done when the resource is limited; who monitors whom, and which rules resolve disputes. These rules aren’t just invented by rulers and imposed from the top down – instead, they often arise, unbidden, from the needs of mutually agreeable social and economic interactions.
The urge to overturn stifling, unjust or simply downright pointless rules is entirely justified. But without some rules – and some tendency for us to stick to them – society would slide rapidly into pandemonium. Indeed, many social scientists would see our tendency to create, stick to, and enforce rules as the very foundation of social and economic life.
Our relationship with rules does seem to be unique to humans. Of course, many animals behave in highly ritualistic ways – for example, the bizarre and complex courtship dances of different species of bird of paradise – but these patterns are wired into their genes, not invented by past generations of birds. And, while humans establish and maintain rules by punishing rule violations, chimpanzees – our closest relatives – do not. Chimps may retaliate when their food is stolen but, crucially, they don’t punish food stealing in general – even if the victim is a close relative.
In humans, rules also take hold early. Experiments show that children, by the age of three, can be taught entirely arbitrary rules for playing a game. Not only that, when a “puppet” (controlled by an experimenter) arrives on the scene and begins to violate the rules, children will criticise the puppet, protesting with comments such as “You are doing that wrong!” They will even attempt to teach the puppet to do better.
Indeed, despite our protests to the contrary, rules seem hardwired into our DNA. In fact, our species’ ability to latch onto, and enforce, arbitrary rules is crucial to our success as a species. If each of us had to justify each rule from scratch (why we drive on the left in some countries, and on the right in others; why we say please and thank you), our minds would grind to a halt. Instead, we are able to learn the hugely complex systems of linguistic and social norms without asking too many questions – we simply absorb “the way we do things round here”.
Instruments of tyranny
But we must be careful – for this way tyranny also lies. Humans have a powerful sense of wanting to enforce, sometimes oppressive, patterns of behaviour – correct spelling, no stranded prepositions, no split infinitives, hats off in church, standing for the national anthem – irrespective of their justification. And while the shift from “This is what we all do” to “This is what we all ought to do” is a well-known ethical fallacy, it is deeply embedded in human psychology.
One danger is that rules can develop their own momentum: people can become so fervent about arbitrary rules of dress, dietary restrictions or the proper treatment of the sacred that they may exact the most extreme punishments to maintain them.
Political ideologues and religious fanatics often mete out such retribution – but so do repressive states, bullying bosses and coercive partners: the rules must be obeyed, just because they are the rules.
Not only that, but criticising rules or failing to enforce them (not to draw attention to a person wearing inappropriate dress, for example) becomes a transgression requiring punishment itself.
And then there’s “rule-creep”: rules just keep being added and extended, so that our individual liberty is increasingly curtailed. Planning restrictions, safety regulations and risk assessments can seem to accumulate endlessly and may extend their reach far beyond any initial intention.
Restrictions on renovating ancient buildings can be so stringent that no renovation is feasible and the buildings collapse; environmental assessments for new woodlands can be so severe that tree planting becomes almost impossible; regulations on drug discovery can be so arduous that a potentially valuable medicine is abandoned. The road to hell is not merely paved with good intentions, but edged with rules enforcing those good intentions, whatever the consequences.
Individuals, and societies, face a continual battle over rules – and we must be cautious about their purpose. So, yes, “standing on the right” on an escalator may speed up everyone’s commute to work – but be careful of conventions that have no obvious benefit to all, and especially those that discriminate, punish and condemn. The latter can become the instruments of tyranny
Rules, like good policing, should rely on our consent. So perhaps the best advice is mostly to follow rules, but always to ask why.
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Nick Chater receives funding from ESRC. He is a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change, and a director of DecisionTechnology, Ltd. He is the author of The Mind is Flat (2018) Penguin/Yale University Press.
Source: The Conversation: Technology https://theconversation.com/what-would-happen-if-we-all-just-stopped-following-rules-128664