*Three new particles discovered at CERN
The international LHCb collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has discovered three never-before-seen subatomic particles.
*The new telescope to test competing theories of Dark Energy
Simulated tests of the ultra-deep field galaxy survey observations expected from NASA upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space telescope mission have astonished astronomers.
*Cygnus used to boost Space Station for the first time
NASA have used a docked Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship to boost the International Space Station up into a higher orbit.
*New space suits and a dust monitor taken to the International Space Station
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship loaded with over two and a half tonnes of supplies has docked safely to the International Space Station.
*The Science Report
A new study warns that 38% of large carnivore species now considered vulnerable or endangered.
Scientists have sequenced the genetic code of the Sturgeon.
The latest snapshot of Australia’s attitude to drugs.
Alex on Tech: the dangers of installing the TikTok app.
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SpaceTime S25E83 AI Transcript
Stuart: This is Spacetime Series 25, episode 83 for broadcast on the 27th July, 2022. Coming up on Spacetime three new particles discovered at sun. Um, a new telescope to test competing areas of dark energy and cygnus used to boost the International Space Station for the first time. All that and more, coming up on Space Time.
Speaker B: Welcome to space time with Stewart Gary.
Stuart: The International LHCb Collaboration at Serve's Large Hadron Collider has discovered three new neverbeforeseen subatomic particles. These include a new kind of peter quark and the first ever pair of tetraquarks, which includes a new type of tetraquark. The findings add three new, exciting members to the growing list of new had drones found by the world's largest atom smasher, uh, they'll help physicists better understand how, uh, quarks bind together into these composite particles. Quarks are elementary particles in the standard model of particle physics, the cornerstone of science's understanding of the universe. They come in six different types of flavors up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Sometimes called beauty. They usually combine together in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons, best known of which are the protons and neutrons that make up the atomic nuclei. More rarely, however, they also combined into four quark and five quark particles known as tetra, quarks, and petequarks. These more exotic hadrons were predicted by a theorists at the same time as conventional hadrons, which is about six decades ago. But they've only relatively recently. That is, within the last 20 years or so being observed by the LHCb and other experiments. Most of the exotic hadrons discovered over the past two decades are tetraquarks or pete quarks containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark, with remaining two or three quarks being up, uh, down or strange or one of the antiquir counterparts. But in the past two years, LHCb has discovered different kinds of exotic hadrons. Two years ago, the collaboration discovered a tetraquark made up of two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks and two open charm tetraquarks consisting of a charm antiquark, an upquark, a down quark and a strange antiquark. And then last year, they found the first ever instance of a double open charm tetraquark with two charm quarks and an up and down antiquark. Open charm means the particles contain a charm quark without an equivalent antiquark counterpart. The new discoveries include new kinds of exotic hadrons. The first kind, discovered in an analysis of decays of negatively charged bee or bottom misons, is a pettaquark made up of a charm quark and a charm antiquark and an up, down and strange quark. And this was the first fender quark found a container charm quark. The finding had a most impressive statistical significance of 15 standard deviations, far beyond the five standard deviations required to claim a new discovery in particle physics. The second kind is a doubleetrate charged tetraquark. It's an open charm tetraquark composed of a charm quark, a strange antiquark and an up quark. And a down antiquark, and it was spotted together with its neutral counterparts. In the joint analysis of decays of positively charged and neutral B mesons, the new tetraquoirs are observed with a statistical significance of six five standard deviations for the Doubly charged particle and eight standard deviations for the neutral particle the first time a pair of tetraquoirs have been observed. LHCb physics coordinator Neil Turing says the more analysis being performed, the more kinds of exotic hadrons are being found. He describes it as a period of discovery similar to the fifties, when the particle zoo of hadrons started being discovered, which ultimately led to the quark model of conventional hadrons in the 1960s. Finding new kinds of tetraquarks and pedaquarks and measuring their properties will help theorists develop a unified model of exotic hadrons, um, the exact nature of which is currently still largely unknown. It'll also help scientists better understand conventional hadrons. While some theoretical models describe exotic hadrons as single units of hardy bound quarks, other marbles envisage them as pairs of standard hadrons loosely bound in a molecularlike structure. Only more time and study of exotic hadrons will tell if these particles are one, the other, or both. This is spacetime. Still to come, a new telescope detects competing theories of dark energy and the Cygnus cargo ship used to boost the International Space Station up into a higher orbit. All that and more still to come on Space Time. Okay, let's take a break from our show for a word from our sponsor, NordVPN, and let's check out their great deal for spacetime listeners. Now, if you're not familiar with NordVPN, they're a service that provides online security and privacy. We use them at space time, and we've been using them before they became a sponsor. And the reason we use them is because they're really good and they work. And there's never been a better time than now for you to take care of your online security as well. Right now, if you subscribe to the NordVPN Complete security package, you'll get a massive discount. The package includes two years of superior VPN protection. There's malware protection. There's a tracker and an ad blocker. There's the cross platform password manager NordPass, a data breach scanner, and 1 encrypted cloud storage. And, of course, it can be loaded onto all your devices. It's an incredible deal, and one which you really should take advantage of. And if you're not impressed with it after giving it a try, you can always get your money back again, thanks to Nord's 30 day money back guarantee. So what have you got to lose? NordVPN's complete security package is just one of a range of packages available from NordVPN, one of which is bound to suit your needs. And all our plans come with an exclusive extra month for free if you use our special URL. Uh, so don't miss out on these great offers. Head over now to Nordvpn.com space and sign up today. That URL again for a very special offer is Nordvpn.com Space. Or use the code Stewartgarry at the checkout. And of course, we'll include those URL details in the show notes and on our website. And now it's back to our show. You're listening to Spacetime Spacetime with Stewart Gary. Simulated tests of the ultra deep filled Galaxy survey observations expected from NASA's upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope mission has been astounding astronomers. The telescope, planned to launch in 2027 to the Lagrangian l two halo orbit on the opposite side of the Earth to the sun, will undertake groundbreaking panoramic surveys of the distant universe, analyzing millions of galaxies strewn across space and time. These observations will allow scientists to test different hypotheses to try and explain dark, uh, energy, a mysterious force which is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. Nancy Graceroman will explore this mystery using multiple methods, including spectroscopy, the study of the color information in light, see detailed wavelength patterns called spectra reveal detailed information about the object, um, that admitted the light, including how fast the object is moving towards or away, um, from us, it's chemical composition and even its temperature. Astronomers call the phenomena when an object is moving away from our viewpoint as being redshifted, that's because when the object recedes, all the light waves we receive from that object are stretched out and shifted to the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Back in the 1920s, astronomers George Lamartre and Edwin Hubble used red shifts to make the startling discovery that, with very few exceptions, galaxies all seem to be racing away from Mars and each other and at different speeds, depending on their distance. By determining how quickly galaxies are receding from us, carried by the relentless expansion of space time, astronomers can find out how far away they are. The, uh, more a galaxy spectrum is redshifted, the further away it must be. This technique precisely allows astronomers to measure how fast the universe is expanding in different areas and consequently, tracing how the universe has evolved. While designed to explore cosmic acceleration, Nancy Grace Roman will also offer clues about many other tantalizing mysteries. It will help scientists understand the first generation of galaxies, allow them to map dark matter, a mysterious substance which can only be detected by its gravitational influence on surrounding matter. Nazi Grace Roman will also reveal new information about structures that are much closer to home right, um, in our own local galactic neighborhood. The telescope, which is planned for launch in May 2027, will provide such an enormous view of the universe that it will help scientists study cosmic mysteries in an unexpected way. You see, each image will contain precise measurements to so many celestial objects that it will enable statistical studies which simply aren't practical. Now, using telescopes with narrow fields of view, nancy Grace Roman spectroscopy survey will cover nearly 2000 square degrees. That's about 5% of the entire sky in just over seven months. A report in the Astrophysical Journal claims the telescope survey observations should reveal precise distances to some 10 million galaxies going back to a time when the universe was just three to 6 billion years old. And these measurements will allow astronomers to map the weblike large scale structure of the cosmos. The survey will also unveil the distances to some 2 million galaxies from even earlier in the universe's history back to a time when the cosmos was between two and 3 billion years old. That's unexplored territory in large scale cosmic structure. This will allow astronomers to create a three dimensional map of the universe by measuring accurate distances and positions to millions of galaxies. Learning how galaxy variation varies with distance and therefore time will give astronomers a window into how quickly the universe has expanded in different cosmic eras. The study will also correct galaxy distances using the echoes of sound waves generated just after the Big Bang. The sound waves, more accurately pressure waves are called baryon acoustic oscillations. And they've grown with time due to the expansion of space, leaving their imprint on the cosmos by influencing galaxy distribution. So it works like this for every modern galaxy, you're more likely to find another galaxy around 5 million light years away than what you are likely to find one slightly nearer or further away. That's due to barrier on acoustic oscillations. And looking further out into the universe into earlier cosmic times means that this preferred physical distance between galaxies the vestige of barrier acoustic oscillation ripples, decreases. And so through these, we have another measurement of the universe's expansion history. Galaxy redshift also encode information about their motion due to the gravity of their neighbors. These are known as redshift space distortions and they help astronomers trace the growth history of largescale cosmic structures. Learning about how the cosmos has expanded and how structure has grown within it will allow scientists to explore the nature of cosmic acceleration and thereby test Einstein's theory of gravity over the age of the universe. See, as the universe expands the gravity of the matter within it should slow down that expansion. So astronomers were surprised to learn that the expansion of the universe was actually speeding up because it means that something about our picture of the universe is still very wrong. And on a cosmic scale, the mystery could be explained by adding a new energy component to the universe a component which scientists have named dark energy. Or it could indicate that Einstein's theory of gravity, that's his general relativity theory needs some modification. Now, changing the equations that describe something as fundamental as gravity may seem extreme, but it's been done before. So I think Newton's law of gravity worked great on a local scale. But it couldn't explain some of the things astronomers were seeing further out in space such as a small and mysterious discrepancy in Mercury's orbit. Astronomers ultimately found that Einstein's general theory of relativity perfectly accounted for these issues. Switching from Newton's description of gravity to Einsteins involved transforming modern physics by changing the way we view space and time. Interconnected instead of separate. And constant cosmic acceleration could be a sign that Einstein's theory of gravity still isn't quite right. The thing is, general relativity has been extremely well tested on physical, um, scales up to about the size of our solar system, but less so, uh, on larger cosmological scales. The simulations from what's expected from the Nazi Grace Roman Space Telescope suggested the mission will provide one of the best opportunities yet to discern between the leading theories that attempt to explain cosmic acceleration. Put simply, the observations um, will tell astronomers whether cosmic acceleration is caused by dark energy, uh, or whether there's a need to modify Einstein's general theory of relativity. This report from NASA TV.
Speaker C: In 2004, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope changed astronomy forever when astronomers revealed the first ultra deep field image. Created with more than 270 hours of observation over the course of a year, it is our farthest ever visible light image of the universe. This tiny window revealed thousands of galaxies in a seemingly empty patch of sky. We can't see any farther invisible light because the unrelenting expansion of space has stretched galaxies ultraviolet glow into red light. More distant galaxies are mostly detectable in infrared. That's why, in 2009, Hubble captured an infrared ultra deep field image that probed even deeper into the same spot. It remains one of the most distant images ever made and a key source of information about some of the universe's early history. The, um Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will have infrared resolution and capabilities similar to Hubble. But each image will cover 200 times the area of sky. A potential Roman ultra deep field could be far faster to capture. It cover hundreds of times as much of the early universe. To further explore this potential, a team of researchers has created a simulated ultra deep field image. The entire image contains about one square degree of sky, or about five full moons. Even a single Roman field of view contains a staggering number of distant galaxies, each one filled with billions of stars. This computergenerated image represents the distribution of galaxies that researchers expect to find based on the existing Hubble observations. It will help astronomers determine how best to conduct an actual Roman ultra deep field and anticipate the measurements and conclusions they might be able to make. Because light travels at a finite speed, distant images are also snapshots earlier in time. Ultra deep field images reveal a time from about 200 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang. Roman's image would be the largest observation of its kind for this time period and could reveal key features in the adolescent universe, including rare infant galaxies that eventually evolve into mature galaxies like our own Milky Way. With Romans set to launch by 2027, this simulated ultra deep field image is just one example of the fantastic results this upcoming mission could bring by the end of the decade.
Stuart: The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is a sibling of the famous Hubble Space Telescope. And they aren't alone. In fact, since 1976 there have been at least 23 space telescopes all of which use exactly the same basic design as that adopted for Hubble. But unlike Hubble and Nancy Grace Roman, which point upwards into the heavens, the other 21 telescopes are all used for Earth observation. They're spy satellites built by the National Reconnaissance Office, the United States intelligence agency responsible for space based surveillance. They've gone by a variety of different official encode names such as KH Eleven, Kennan, Crystal Evolved, Enhanced Crystal 1010, Gambit and Hexagon. But they're probably best known by the name Cahole. Over the years, there have been at least six basic technology upgrades known as blocks and at least two of them, called Misty were even designed to be stealthy and virtually invisible to radar. But the story of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope really begins in 2012 when the National Reconnaissance Office donated a pair of block three Keyhouse by satellites and spare parts to NASA potentially for uses Hubble Space Telescope replacements. The pair were manufactured in the late 1990s and early 2000s, so they were newer than the Hubble. They were originally meant to join the constellation of similar keyhole surveillance and reconnaissance spy satellites orbiting the Earth. But whenever used, bigger, specific segments of their design were superseded by newer block four and five versions. Like Hubble, they were built by Lockheed Martin, equipped with a two four meter main mirror and designed to orbit at altitudes of around 500 km. But because they look down to the Earth's surface and not up, they use different optical equipment. And they also have a shorter focal length giving them a far wider field of view around a hundred times larger than Hubble's whitefilled camera three instruments, but they won't complete, lacking, among other things, detectors, star trackers, prism, wheels and filters. The good news is they did come complete with bodies, mirrors, payload, radiators and one five meter long struts on the bottom of the spacecraft for instruments. And it's one of these that are now being built into the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. This is spacetime. Still to come, Cygnus, used for the first time to boost International Space Station up into a higher orbit. And later in the Science report, the latest snapshot of Australia's um, current attitude towards illegal drugs. All that and more. Still to come. NASA has used a docked Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship to boost the International Space Station up into a higher orbit for the first time. Atmospheric drag, even in the space environment 400 km above the Earth, still contains enough molecules to cause the orbiting outpost to continually lose altitude and degrade as it circles the planet. And so it's got to be boosted at regular intervals during the 301 2nd burn of the cygnus Ng 17s Gimbal dotted velocity engine. Space station's altitude was raised by 160 meters in Apogee and around 800 meters in perigee. Originally, this was a task assigned to visiting space shuttles. However, when the space shuttle fleet was suddenly retired prematurely in 2001, the Russian federal space Agency Ross Cosmos agreed to take over the job using their visiting progress cargo ships. The problem is the growing tensions over Moscow's invasion of the Ukraine has seen all space cooperation between Russia and the west brought to a halt other than for the jointly operated International Space Station. And while both sides are still, uh, cooperating in keeping the space station flying, there was even a spacewalk carried out by a Russian and European astronaut earlier this week. Roscosmos has reacted to Western sanctions by banning cosmonauts from participating in many Western scientific experiments on station, or, for that matter, even using Western equipment on the station. Things are so bad. At one stage last month, Roscosmos threatened to stop boosting the space station to which SpaceX boss Elon Musk simply tweeted a picture of a Dragon capsule with a word ready. Now, while all this was going on, northrop Grumman had already been quietly carrying out upgrades to the Cygnus cargo ship, increasing payload capacity with larger cargo modules, adding lighter and more powerful solar arrays and fuel tanks, and upgrading many of the spacecraft systems to make a reboost possible. An earlier reboost attempt using Cygnus was aborted after just a few seconds as a precautionary measure. But after adjusting flight limits, another attempt was carried out, this one successfully lifting the space station up into a higher orbit. Just days after the maneuver, a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship loaded with over two and a half tons of supplies docked successfully to the International Space Station. The CRS 25 mission docked automatically to the forward part of the Harmony module. Two days after launching on a Falcon Nine rocket from Pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Speaker D: Now dragon began its startup uh, sequence at t -35 minutes when it coordinated timing with the Falcon Nine. Dragon now currently undergoing vehicle health checks with the next big step just before liftoff, when the cargo spacecraft transitions to internal battery power, dragon is in terminal count.
Speaker E: I just heard that call out for Dragon being internal count and the strong back retract. That's perfect timing. That large truss structure next to the vehicle is called the transporter erector, or the strong back. And as it's called out on the loop, it pulls away from the vehicle in preparation for lift off. Those clamp arms around the body of, uh, the second stage start to retract. And then shortly after that, the whole structure will pull away from Falcon Nine. Now, in the last few minutes, falcon Nine is performing a set of final health checks on its primary communication, avionics and propulsion systems in preparation for liftoff. We're, um, also going to continue to hear call outs throughout, but the engines are sufficiently chilled in as we get closer to liftoff checkouts of the second.
Speaker D: Stage thrust vector control actuators, they are underway. This is often referred to as the engine wiggle test. This is when SpaceX moves the thrust nozzle slightly to make sure that the guidance hardware is go for flight. At the time of launch, 844 and 22:00 p.m. Eastern time, the International Space Station will be over the Pacific Ocean, 257 statute miles in altitude.
Speaker E: We actually heard just about, uh, 30 seconds ago that liquid oxygen loading is complete on the first stage. And coming up here, just under 20 seconds, we'll hear a similar call out on the second stage that will wrap up prolonged loading on Falcon Nine in preparation for launch. At this point, Dragons performing its final health checks to make sure we're ready to go for rendezvous with the space station about, uh, 38 hours from now, there's a call out there for lockboat complete.
Speaker D: At t -1 minute dragon will transition to internal power falcon nine computers will enter startup mode and begin final pre launch checks, guiding the rocket through the last seconds before lift off. Falcon nine isn't start up. There you have the call.
Speaker E: Dragon is in countdown.
Speaker D: Both stages are now pressurizing for launch.
Speaker E: LD is go for Falcon Nine. Sierra is 25 launch, so range is.
Speaker D: Go, weather is go. Ten 987-65-4321 uh, engine ignition and lift off. Liftoff. Of SpaceX's Falcon Nine rocket launching a Dragon on the 25th mission to resupply the International Space Stations with cool science and the new advanced instruments more effectively.
Speaker E: Study our planet's climate, power and telemetry nominal. There's the call out for maximum dynamic pressure. So from here, the stresses on the vehicle will get lower and lower as you raise our altitude. Coming up, we've got five events back to back. The first of those will be main engine cut off or Miko. That's where all nine Merlin 1D engines on the first stage will shut down. Following that will be stage separation, where the first and second stages will separate. The first stage will flip around to make sure it's headed back towards the landing site. And our drone ship named a short haul of gravitas. And then the second stage will ignite its Merlin vacuum engine to boost Dragon into a lower orbit during second engine start. Number one. We just heard the call out there for engine chilling on the second stage. And just starting the last event is the boost back burn on the first stage. That's to reduce the velocity of that vehicle as we prepare for atmospheric entry. Now, all of those events happen over about 45 seconds. Stage separation confirmed. And now the boostback burn is underway. Stage one boost back shutdown successful. Shutdown of the first stage Merlin engines for the boost back burn. Second stage engine continuing to burn. That will continue to burn until about the T plus eight minutes and a 42nd mark into the mission, our 30th mission of 2022 and the third Dragon flight to the International Space Station this year. We lift it off just about four minutes ago from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Speaking of the entry sequence on the first stage to make its way back to that brownship, it's going to have to execute two more burns. The first of those is the entry burn where we'll ignite three of the Merlin engines and that helps slow down the stage as we enter the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere. Following that, there will be a second burn, the landing burn. And there will only ignite a single Berlin 1D engine. That will bring the vehicle speed down to zero for a soft touchdown on the drone ship. The plumes of white that's actually from our nitrogen and gas thrusters that are helping to keep the stage, the first stage oriented engines down as we are in the vacuum of space at the moment. But once we get through that entry burn, grid fins which are deployed will then take over control as we start to get atmospheric authority. And then the first stage will only use those grid bins to steer back towards our drone ship. Bencher burn expected to start about 10 seconds. From now on, FPS is safe. Just taking a quick look in stage two. Engine performance about nominal. Continuing to burn. We've got about three more minutes start up. The velocity on the first stage rapidly slowing down, shut down the entry burn. That burn only lasting about 15 seconds. And now we're doing a quick attitude correction to make sure we're pointing the heat shield down. And that entry burn and the plume coming back on the stage ends up depositing a small layer of carbon on the vehicle, which is what gives our first stages that awesome city look once we've refund them. Falcon Nine also has four landing legs. They're made of carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb placed around the base of the um rocket. And they'll deploy just prior to landing during the landing burn. If we're successful in recovering the Falcon Nine, it will mark its successful landing and our 130th landing overall of a Falcon Nine, including Falcon heavy mission. Landing burn coming up shortly. Stage one landing burn. Stage one, landing one deploy. Keep real excited behind me, right in the middle. Fifth landing for this Falcon nine. 130th landing overall for an orbital class rocket. Beautiful sight to see. Coming up next is second engine cut off number one or twoEO. One will expect the Merlin vacuum engine to stop firing just about 30 seconds from now. It's the Dragon spacecraft to its drop off orbit around our planet. After we complete second engine cut off number one, we'll do a quick check to make sure that the burn performance is at this stage. We're in the targeted orbit. Usually hear that called out as a nominal orbital uh, insertion or a good orbit call out on the loop and that shutdown. So you heard a call out on the loops there for shutdown of the bathroom there's, um, nominal orbital insertion. That means that the ground teams have assessed the orbit and stage two is right where we want it to be. And of course, that also means that Dragon is right where we want it to be since it's been arriving on the first stage excuse me, the second stage this whole time.
Stuart: The flight's primary payload was Emmett the Earth's Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation Spectrograph developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which we covered in last week's show. Emmett, uh, will be mounted on the outside of the space station from where it will measure the composition of dust in the Earth's atmosphere and determine where the dust is mostly coming from and where it's blowing to. The mission is also transporting a new main bus switching unit which will replace a degraded one on the space station's S Six truss. Also aboard the Dragon with two new NASA spacesuits. They'll replace the older suits, one of which has started to show its age leaking water during recent spacewalks. The CRS 25 manifest also includes an experiment using tissue chips in order to study how microgravity affects the human immune system during spaceflight. There's also a soil experiment designed to determine how microgravity affects complex communities of microorganisms as they carry out key functions in soil including the recycling of carbon and other nutrients and supporting plant growth. The Genes in Space Nine experiment will test free production of protein in microgravity and evaluate two sulfur biosensors that can detect specific target molecules. This will ultimately provide a simple, portable and lowcost tool for medical diagnostics undermanned production of medicines and vaccines and environmental monitoring on future space missions. Another experiment will look at the process of creating concrete alternatives in space using a mixture of organic and onsite materials such as lunar or Martian dust. The mission also carries six CubeSats and including the Beaver cube which was built by American high school students and equipped with one visible and two infrared images to measure cloud properties, ocean surface temperatures and ocean color in order to study the Earth's climate and weather systems. Just two days after the Dragon launch, SpaceX launched another Falcon Nine, this one from the neighboring Launch Complex 40. It was carrying another 53 starlink broadband Internet satellites into orbit. The flight marked the 13th launch for the same Falcon Nine booster which then successfully, uh, returned to Earth. Landing on the drone ship just read the instructions which had been prepositioned about 650 km downrange northeast of Cape Canaveral in the North Atlantic Ocean. That mission means SpaceX have now launched an incredible 2858 of the 260 kilogram Sting satellites. They eventually have to give that number up to around 300. This is space time mhm and time. I'd take another brief look at some of the other. Stories making news in Science this week with the Science Report. A new study has found that 38% of large carnivore species across both land and sea are now considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is based on data looking at population trends for 362 species across marine mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and land mammals. The authors found that fewer than one in 10 species are currently increasing in population and just twelve threatened species have genuinely reduced their risk of extinction. Most of those were marine mammals. Scientists have sequenced the genetic code of the sturgeon, sometimes referred to as the method of freshwater fish. Um, sturgeons and their close relatives are very old from an evolutionary point of view dating back some 250,000,000 years and it seems they've changed very little over that time. A report in the journal Nature, Ecology and Evolution claimed scientists sequenced the relatively small species of sturgeon known as the Sterlit, finding they've changed very little generally since the age of dinosaurs. The findings support the idea that sturgeons are among the oldest species on Earth in terms of evolutionary history. The genetic information also shows they're the ancestors of more than 300 species of bony fish that occurred today and thus of more than, uh, 96% of all living fish species and about half of all known vertebrate species. A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has looked at Australia's latest attitudes and perceptions towards drugs. The survey found three in four Australians aged 14 and older had consumed alcohol in the previous year, more than one in ten smoked tobacco daily and two in five had used an illicit drug at some time. Most Australians and 78% continue to support the decriminalization of cannabis. That's up from 66, uh, percent in 2010. However, only 41% thought the drug should be totally legalized, up from 20, uh, 5% in 2010. Attitudes towards harder drugs were less relaxed with just 8% supporting the legalization of cocaine, up from 6.3% in 2010, 9.5% for ecstasy, up from 6.8% in 2010, 5.6% for heroin and 4.6% for methamphetamines both about the same as the numbers in 2010. There are renewed calls this week for the social media platform TikTok to be banned in both Australia and the United States, with a growing number of experts warning that the app is spying on you and your children. The platform, which speed up Google to become the world's most popular website last year, largely consists of short dance videos and is widely considered to be fairly harmless. But being a Chinese company, it's governed by Chinese law first, which means it's required to support assistant cooperate with the Chinese state intelligence network and with the Chinese government now award leader in data collection, AI and facial recognition software. There are fears TikToks being used by Beijing to spy on people and collect data for future blackmail or simply to bombard them with fake news and information designed to influence future voting patterns. With the details, we're joined by technology editor Alex Howare of Royd from Ity.com.
Alex: TikTok has been accused for some time, for years, of being an app that just is sucking information. There's been a new report from Canberra based and intelligence firm Internet 2.0 that has set off the latest round. But there was also a report from BuzzFeed early this month. In the US. The FCC has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from its App Store. So there's a lot of talk about TikTok, and the analysis done by Internet 2.0 was of the source code, and they did it on Android, and they were saying that there was a server connection to mainland China. Even though the IP address of Singapore, the information is apparently going there now. We've got device mapping where all of the apps that are installed on the phone have been collected and reported. Apparently, TikTok, uh, is checking for your location very least once per hour. Got ongoing access to your calendar. It's having a look at any external storage that you might have. It looks at WiFi names, it looks at the past WiFi networks for the serial numbers, the SIM card serial number, device ID, the Ime number, the Mac address, the phone number, GPS status, all accounts complete clipboard access. If you are using an Android device and you have an SD card, it's get a list of all the different information that's on that particular card. SIM card numbers, phone numbers, device build numbers. The list is not going. The amount of data it's taking is basically pretty much everything it can take. And they're the only app to be doing this. Social media apps are well known to, uh, also collect or request this sort of information. And that's why Apple put up its ask app not to track. The danger is that these apps are asking for admission for your photos and videos.
Stuart: Does it really need this information?
Alex: Well, look, the reports that are coming out suggesting that TikTok is gathering all this information so that it can create profiles on people and then potentially use this information in the future when a lot of the younger people are in government jobs or working for other companies, and the accusation is that they could use it for blackmails. One thing is for certain when you have all the information on your phone, and that phone also has cameras and microphones and that whole allwillian scenario where the TV with the camera was watching everything you're doing, we live in a world where that's actually possible. And so there have, uh, been calls from the government. I mean, Australia's former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asking people to delete TikTok from their phones a couple of years ago. But in the US. The FCC has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. And BuzzFeed also put in a big article about this recently. So you just have to decide whether you want to have this app on your phone or not. There are algorithms that are watching you with your doing. Apparently, when you go on TikTok, if you start creating content, then the app is very quick to give you all sorts of followers and to sort of get you to be very used to the app. But you also have to ask yourself, is this really a valuable use of your time, trading these little dance videos or videos featuring cats or dogs or pets? It's sort of a way for the mind to be rotted in the west, apparently, TikTok in China is very different to TikTok in the west. In China, there's a lot of videos that are about, um, healthy things or about ways to improve yourself. But in the west, it's all sort of time wasting stuff.
Stuart: Remember, if the app is free, you're the product.
Alex: That's right. Yeah. All the information about you privacy is slipping away. And we need to be the generation that doesn't tell our grandchildren what it was once like to live in the world with privacy, which is, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, he said, we don't want to be the generation that tells our grandchildren what it was like to live in a country that was once free.
Stuart: That's Alex Zaharov Reutt from itwire.com. And that's the show for now. Spacetime is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Apple Podcast, itunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Acast, Amazon Music, Bytescom, SoundCloud, YouTube, your favorite podcast download provider and From Spacetime with Stuartgarycom. Spacetime um is also broadcast through the National Science Foundation on science owned radio, and on both iHeartRadio and Tune in radio. And you can help to support our show by visiting the Spacetime Store for a range of promotional merchandising goodies. Or by becoming a Spacetime patron, which gives you access to triple episode, commercial free versions of the show, as well as lots of bonus audio content which doesn't go to air, access to our exclusive Facebook group and other rewards. Just go to Spacetime with Stewartgarry.com for full details. And if you want more space time, please check out our blog, where you'll find all the stuff we couldn't fit in the show, as well as heaps of images, news stories, loads of videos and things on the web I find interesting or amusing. Just go to spacetimewithstewardgary. Tumblr.com. That's all one word, and that's Tumblr without the e. You can also follow us through at stuartgarry, on Twitter, at FaceTime with Stuartgarry, on Instagram, through our Spacetime YouTube channel and on Facebook. Just go to Facebook.com spacetime um with Stuartgarry, and Space Time is brought to you in collaboration with Australian Sky and Telescope magazine, your window on the Universe. You've been listening to SpaceTime with Stuart Gary.
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