YOUR WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE
- Virgin Hyperloop has released a video illustrating its plans for passenger pods using magnetic levitation to travel above 1,000km/h (600mph) through tubes containing a near-vacuum. Rather than connecting to form a train, the pods will travel in convoy, able to leave and join a static track individually, like cars on a motorway. Last year, Virgin Hyperloop completed a trip, reaching speeds of 170km/h.
- Astronomers have obtained some detailed images of galaxies in deep space. UN negotiators have resumed work on the text of world-wide plan to protect nature and species for the next decade. The draft Global Biodiversity Framework aims to conserve at least 30% of the world’s land and oceans. It will also push to eliminate plastic waste and cut pesticide use by at least two thirds. The pact was due to be agreed at a UN biodiversity summit in China this October, however face to face talks have been halted to next year.
- The worst drought in four decades has isolated farming communities in the south of the country, leaving families to scavenge for insects to survive. These famine-like conditions are being driven by climate change not conflict. The UN estimates that 30,000 people are currently experiencing the highest internationally recognised level of food insecurity – level five – and there are concerns the number affected could rise sharply as Madagascar enters the traditional “lean season” before harvest.
- A team appointed by the World Health Organization to find the cause of the outbreak say the process has stalled. Further delay could make crucial studies “biologically impossible”. In an article, they call on political and scientific leaders to expedite those studies “while there is still time”. Due to the way the world is changing – population increase and interaction between humans and animals, we need to learn where things go wrong and how we can avoid that in the future.
- How much of an impact on UK lifestyles will the government’s goal of net zero carbon emissions really have? A new report says that while the 2050 target will require significant efforts from consumers, these should not result in “massive lifestyle changes”. The study from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change says that limitations on flying would need people to cut their travels by plane by 6% by 2035. For cars, the paper says that journeys should be cut by just 4%.
- The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead after which it was named. The ancestors of modern whales developed from deer-like mammals that lived on land over the course of 10 million years. Weighing an estimated 600kg and three metres (10ft) in length, the Anubis had strong jaws to catch prey, according to the study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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