First picture of a black hole developed by MIT Ph.D student

First picture of a black hole developed by MIT Ph.D student

BY NADIA BABAR ’19

For years, black holes have only ever been visible via artistic interpretations and the imaginations of science fiction authors. But on April 10, jaws dropped as the world saw the first ever image of a black hole. MIT PhD student Katie Bouman is credited with developing the algorithm that allowed the data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to be pieced together and interpreted, according to Science News.

Methane gas found on Mars, hopes for new discoveries in 2020

Methane gas found on Mars, hopes for new discoveries in 2020

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

In the summer of 2013, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter detected methane emissions in the Gale crater, a large depression near the Martian equator, according to the New York Times. Their findings were later replicated by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which measured levels of methane in the air that lasted for about two months. Methane on Earth is usually produced by living things, so this finding is both exciting and bewildering for scientists, who believe it could potentially indicate alien life.

Carbon monoxide detectors not required in public housing units

Carbon monoxide detectors not required in public housing units

BY THEA BURKE ’20

It has long been understood by the general public that carbon monoxide is severely detrimental, if not a direct threat, to human health. A high enough exposure to the gas can kill a person within several minutes. Although HUD requires buildings to follow state laws, about half of the states in the U.S. do not require detectors, leaving many homes unprotected from the noxious gas.

New research changes views on aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease

New research changes views on aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

A team of scientists in Spain have conducted a study that suggests that the human brain can continue to produce new neurons into the ninth decade of life, far longer than previously believed. This finding has the potential to influence the field of neuroscience, though it is important not to overstate the implications of these findings as it is debated how this information can be put to practical use.

“Period. End of Sentence” wins Oscar, ignites change

“Period. End of Sentence” wins Oscar, ignites change

BY THEA BURKE ’20

“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.” This is the tagline for the short documentary, “Period. End of Sentence”, that won the Oscar for best short documentary at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24. The documentary was born from the passion project of high school students at Oakwood School in the LA area of California.

The curious case of the gynandromorph

The curious case of the gynandromorph

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

A cardinal spotted in January by a resident of Erie, Pennsylvania was different than most. According to an article published by the New York Times titled “A Rare Bird Indeed: A Cardinal That’s Half Male, Half Female,” this bird, which displayed both male and female sex characteristics, is known as a bilateral gynandromorph. Its left side appears to be the tawny brown of a female, while its right side displays the vivid scarlet of a male cardinal.

Postpartum depression often goes untreated

Postpartum depression often goes untreated

BY IVY LI ’21

Today, the phrase “postpartum depression” is not considered unfamiliar psychological jargon. The concept of postpartum depression was first explained in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 1968, attributing depressive symptoms often experienced after birth to factors such as hormone level fluctuation and external stress. Postpartum depression is characterized by low mood, fatigue, poor concentration, loss of appetite and insomnia. It can be seen as a prolonged, severe version of “baby blues”: mild irritability, fatigue and anxiety that occurs after childbirth.

U.S. measles outbreak sparks another conversation on vaccinations

U.S. measles outbreak sparks another conversation on vaccinations

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

As of Feb. 7, there have been 101 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of measles include a fever, sore throat, runny nose and Koplik’s spots, which are small white spots on the inside of the cheek.

App under investigation by Apple for possible human rights violation

App under investigation by Apple for possible human rights violation

BY NADIA BABAR ’19

As of February 2019, an app allowing men to prohibit women under their guardianship from leaving the country of Saudi Arabia has been downloaded 4.2 million times. Absher is a smartphone app available to citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia, providing them access to a number of governmental services.

A look into the single-payer healthcare bill proposed for MA

A look into the single-payer healthcare bill proposed for MA

BY THEA BURKE ’20

In 1948, the World Health Organization declared healthcare a universal human right. 71 years later, healthcare is currently a polarizing issue within the U.S. government. Single-payer healthcare, otherwise known as Medicare for All, still has a ways to go before a final vote is passed in Massachusetts, let alone in the nation as a whole.

Effects of a government shut- down on the FDA and the EPA

BY THEA BURKE ’20

The U.S. government shutdown had many clear implications for various federal departments, employees and policies. Even though the shutdown may have posed a potentially insignificant risk to public health, it is important to understand which agencies do not function at full capacity when the government is closed.

The Mars Rover: An Obituary

The Mars Rover: An Obituary

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

NASA’s Opportunity rover, more commonly known as the “Mars Rover,” began its life on July 7, 2003. Scientists have not made contact with the intrepid explorer since June of 2018, when it was buried by a dust storm.

Noise pollution creates hazard for marine life

Noise pollution creates hazard for marine life

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

Marine life is highly influenced by sound. Foreign sounds in the ocean have led to stress, deafness, diminished feeding opportunities, loss of communication and death among sea life.

Never Fear: GRADUATION

BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19

As I prepare to graduate this December, I have been reflecting on which relationships have been most sustaining during my time here. Although I have experienced some excellent sex and some great romances, I have been most grateful for intentional queer platonic intimacy. I love being tangled up in bed with my friends, kissing cheeks and holding hands as we watch holiday rom-coms with no tension.

Nation fights back against intensifying opioid fatalities

Nation fights back against intensifying opioid fatalities

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Montgomery County, Ohio, had the highest rate of accidental opioid overdoses in the state, with 521 fatalities per 10,000 people in 2017. Within the Montgomery County, the city of Dayton was hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic. However, according to an article published last week in the New York Times, despite the overall increase in drug-related deaths, the county has managed to cut down its overdose rate by more than half in the past year, hopefully setting an example for the rest of the country to follow.

Gene tampering prompts investigation

Gene tampering prompts investigation

BY IVY LI ’21

He Jiankui is an associate professor of biology at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. He has recently claimed to have successfully modified the genes of infant twins, the first in the world to do so. He announced on Monday, Nov. 26 that his team had successfully altered the genes of twin baby girls under the pseudonyms Nana and Lulu, who were born earlier this month in Guangdong Province, according to The Beijing News. The goal, He said in an interview, was to produce babies with the ability to resist HIV infection in the future by disabling CCR5, a gene that enables the virus to take hold.

The science of reducing anxiety with natural remedies

The science of reducing anxiety with natural remedies

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

Throughout history, lavender has played an important role in medicine and folklore. According to the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine’s website, Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, is the most common species grown and used medicinally. Its most common medicinal uses include remedying digestive issues, headaches, grief and stress.

The benefits of the Amazon rainforest

The benefits of the Amazon rainforest

BY CHEYENNE ELLIS ’21

After the recent election of Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, concerns over the future of the Amazon rainforest have emerged among environmentalists and indigenous communities. According to National Geographic, Bolsonaro has threatened to roll back protections of the Amazon rainforest, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation.