The Gap in State Gun Laws, Apple Card Is Sorta Here, and More News

A report outlines the link between gun laws and mass shootings, Apple's new credit card has arrived for a select group of users, and WIRED has some pocket camera suggestions for you. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today's Headlines The looser a state's gun laws, the more mass shootings it has A report in BMJ compared the strictness of state-level gun laws to the annual rate of mass shootings, and the results are sobering: States were scored from 0 (very restrictive) to 100 (very permissive) based on 13 factors surrounding their gun laws. And for every 10-point relaxation in …

Greta Thunberg: They see us as a threat because were having an impact

The climate activist answers questions from famous supporters and Observer readers, with an introduction by Ali Smith Greta Thunberg. This time last year she was unimaginable. Then, pretty much from nowhere, there she was: small and slight, a girl just turned 16, the way-too-young odd person out on a panel of adults sitting in front of the worlds economic powers at Davos last January. the greatest threat to the fossil fuel industry. Thunberg This is a communal voice and Thunberg is its lightning conductor, and no wonder: when you hear her speak or you read her speeches you know youre in the presence of the opposite of cynicism of a spirit, in fact, that rebuffs cynicism and knows that the …

Why We See the Colors of Faces Differently Than Other Things

As setups go for studying how people see colors, this one isn’t even the weirdest: a room full of assorted objects, like Lego bricks, strawberries, and ping-pong balls. Bring people into the room and give them a computer. Tell them to use a mouse to adjust the color of a big spot on the screen, like a color-picker tool in reverse. Then a researcher would point at one of the objects and say, basically, make that spot on the computer be the same color. Easy, right? The yellow Lego, the red strawberry, the white ping-pong ball. That’s what color vision is for after all. It uses the photoreceptors at the back of your eyeballs and a lot of computational neurocircuitry …

That Viral ‘Gyro Drop’ Ride Was Fake. Here’s How You Can Tell

As this very popular video was making the rounds on social media, the average comment was something like this: WHAT!? That amusement park ride is CRAZY! I would never ride on that. Wait! On the way down, the humans travel at a speed of about 18 m/s. Then, at the end of the line, they get pulled back up with a speed of 16 m/s (about the same as down). This change in speed (from down to up) happens over a time interval of about 0.2 seconds or less. That would put the stopping acceleration at 170 m/s2, or about 17.3 g's. Note: Fighter jets pull about 9 g's for very short periods of time. OK, now for the next …

Physicists Are Bewitched by Twisted Graphene’s ‘Magic Angle’

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero is channeling some of his copious energy into a morning run, dodging startled pedestrians as he zips along, gradually disappearing into the distance. He’d doubtlessly be moving even faster if he weren’t dressed in a sports coat, slacks, and dress shoes, and confined to one of the many weirdly long corridors that crisscross the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But what he lacks in gear and roadway he makes up for in determination, driven by the knowledge that a packed auditorium is waiting for him to take the podium. Jarillo-Herrero has never been a slacker, but his activity has jumped several levels since his dramatic announcement in March 2018 that his lab at MIT had found …

Here’s why moderate drinking is probably not good for you | Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz

People who drink one to two standard drinks a day are the healthiest overall. But moderate drinking isnt an isolated behaviour As a society, we love drinking. There are people who abstain, but by and large we love to drink alcohol its part of our social culture, part of our collective identity, and so pervasive that it can be hard to escape from even if you try. As anyone whos attempted a Dry July can attest, booze is something that we are all connected to in myriads of ways. So stories about drinking make us stop and take notice. In particular, moderate drinking. We all know that boozing too much is bad for us its no surprise that 20 beers …

A Blazing Hot Coal Seam Shows How Microbes Can Spring to Life

Just past the intersection of Centre and Locust in Centralia, Pennsylvania, the microbiologist Tammy Tobin turned the wheel of her aging Prius sharply to the right. As the windshield wipers whipped furiously back and forth to fend off the driving sleet—a reminder that winter had yet to bid farewell—Tobin announced, “We’re here.” We were at the base of a grassy slope nestled behind the SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery. It looked like any of the other countless knolls tucked in the anthracite hills of eastern Pennsylvania. But almost 50 meters beneath our feet lurked a hidden menace. Centralia was burning. Or rather, the coal seam under what used to be the town of Centralia was burning. The coal has burned …

The First Gene-Edited Food Is Now Being Served

Not long after Calyxt moved into its shiny new steel and glass headquarters on the outskirts of Minneapolis last summer, someone pulled her car into its freshly poured parking lot and headed for the biotech firm’s front door. She caught the company’s chief science officer, Dan Voytas, as he was leaving. “Um, is this a medical marijuana facility?” she asked, her eyes drifting to the rows of greenhouses at the back of the property and the high fences surrounding them. No, they weren’t growing pot. They were growing something at once even more revolutionary and perhaps more controversial: gene-edited food crops. Farmers and breeders have been manipulating the DNA of the plants humans eat for millennia. But with powerful new …