science, technology, twist

ICYMI: A handful of science and technology updates from October 7 to October 13, 2018.

Philippine Senate passes Universal Health Care Bill

In a unanimous vote, senators approved Senate Bill 1986, or the Universal Health Care Bill, on its third and final reading. This bill, which aims to provide all Filipinos with adequate health care coverage and benefits, will establish the National Health Security Program as the replacement for the National Health Insurance Program (Philhealth). Read the full story.

After Dengvaxia controversy, Filipinos’ confidence in vaccines takes massive hit

According to a newly published study, the dengue vaccine controversy in the Philippines — and the politically charged manner in which it was addressed — led to a massive drop in the public’s confidence in vaccines. This research was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and “measured the impact of the Dengvaxia crisis on overall vaccine confidence before and after the manufacturer highlighted a risk associated with the vaccine and the associated political fallout.” Read the full story.

Scientists: The world is headed for “climate catastrophe”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a special report on the disturbing trend of global warming today. The report, which covers research by over 90 scientists, warns that the world is now completely off track in terms of maintaining the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C, and is now rapidly heading towards 3C. Uncontrollable temperatures, rising sea levels, and the extinction of countless species are among the grave consequences of this failure. However, not all is completely lost — at least, not yet. Read the full story.

Must a moon’s moon be called a “moonmoon”?

Astronomers from California and France wrote a paper that discusses the possibility of a planet’s moon having its own moon. The authors suggested the term “submoon” to describe this heretofore unnamed concept, but another word has emerged to be the more popular choice: “moonmoon,” which the Internet has latched on to in typically humorous and enthusiastic fashion. Read the full story.

Soyuz rocket malfunctions; astronauts escape safely

A US astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut hastily exited their Russian Soyuz rocket as it malfunctioned on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). The space explorers noted a problem with the rocket’s booster as it was discarding its empty fuel segments. Soyuz is one of the oldest — and safest — rocket designs. Both individuals were rescued promptly. Read the full story.

Research enables same-sex mice to have offspring

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences explored the viability of same-sex parents in mammals through experiments involving lab mice. With the use of genetic engineering, they successfully enabled two mother animals to have pups. However, the mice with two father animals died a few days after birth. The experiment was conducted to shed light on why we don’t reproduce the same way reptiles, amphibians, birds, and certain types of fish do. Read the full story.

Microsoft makes 60,000 patents open source

Microsoft has made 60,000 of its patents open source as part of its transformation as a tech company. This was brought about by Microsoft’s efforts to join the Open Invention Network (OIN) and “help reduce issues with developers over patent lawsuits.” Read the full story.

Google Plus security bug causes Alphabet to pull the plug

After years of rather lackluster popularity and performance, Google’s social network, Google Plus, is formally being shut down. After discovering a potential privacy issue in March, Alphabet has decided to pull the plug on Plus. The so-called “privacy bug” allegedly put the personal information of 500,000 users at risk. Read the full story.

Cover photo: Markus Spiske