China Continues Work on its Space Station as Scientists Transplant 3D-Printed Ear
This week, China plans to finish its space station and become a space superpower. Scientists successfully transplanted a 3D-printed ear made of living cells. Monkey Pox spreads to Europe and North America. Mastercard unveils a face recognition payment system. The Supreme Court bans Texas’s social media bill. Here are this week’s stories.
1. China Works on its Space Station
China has launched another crewed mission to its new space station with three astronauts to oversee construction work for six months. China had launched the first module of the Tiangongn space station last year and plans to add more modules, like a science lab and a space telescope, later this year and next year. With the Tiangongn space station, China hopes to become a space power and replace the International Space Station, which will likely be decommissioned in 2031. This decade, China hopes to collect samples from asteroids, the Moon, and Mars and land astronauts on the Moon. Many other countries are also planning lunar missions, including the US, United Arab Emirates, India, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. The US believes that Private corporations, like SpaceX and Blue Origin, will likely lead future space station projects in collaboration with NASA.
2. Scientists Transplant 3D-Printed Ear
3DBio Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company, has successfully transplanted a 3D-printed ear made of living cells onto a woman born with microtia, a rare ear deformity. Microtia is a birth defect where ears are underdeveloped or missing entirely. The condition impacts nearly 800,000 people worldwide and approximately 1,500 babies born in the United States each year. 3DBio Therapeutics hopes to solve this condition and is currently conducting clinical trials. The company developed a 3D-printed ear by taking cells from the patient’s affected ear. Researchers then cultured the cells to help them multiply and mixed them with a collagen-based bio-ink which is compatible with medical-grade 3D printers. Then the researchers 3D-printed the implant, mirroring the size and shape of the patient’s left ear, and performed the procedure. Over time, the ear will grow and mature and should look like a natural ear. 3DBio Therapeutics has made a breakthrough in organ and tissue transplants, and this technology could be used to save lives. May research companies are working on 3D-printed lungs and 3D-printed blood vessels. 3DBio Therapeutics hopes to 3D print other body parts like noses and even complex organs like livers and kidneys.
3. Monkey Pox Spreads to Europe and North America
Monkey Pox has been infecting people for decades, but for the first time, there is a global outbreak of the virus, putting scientists on high alert. The virus is endemic in Central and West Africa, where there are thousands of cases, but now hundreds of cases are being reported in Europe and North America. The UK and Portugal have detected the most cases, with about 200 and 100 cases in each country, and Canada has reported nearly 60 cases while the US has over 20. Initial Monkey Pox symptoms are flu-like, including fever, chills, exhaustion, and headache, followed by enlarged lymph nodes. Then rashes start to emerge and spread to other parts of the body. The virus usually spreads through infected animals or prolonged close contact with an infected individual, and it only becomes contagious when symptoms emerge. This disease is very slow spreading, and it should not be a significant problem. WHO officials say the global public health risk is moderate because public health risk could be higher if the virus spreads to immunocompromised individuals.
4. Mastercard’s Face Recognition Payment System
Mastercard is experimenting with biometric verification methods to improve the checkout experience. With this new technology, users will be able to pay and authenticate their payment by showing their face or hand instead of swiping their card, similar to unlocking a smartphone. Currently, this technology is in Brazil and will roll out globally later this year. Mastercard claims the technology will ensure shorter waiting times at checkout, faster transactions, improved hygiene, and enhanced security. However, there is concern over customer privacy and data storage. Mastercard’s biometric verification will rely on third-party companies like Payface to store data, but it will be encrypted to ensure privacy. An executive from Mastercard also said this technology is moving us forward and “towards the metaverse.” Mastercard has also been experimenting with the metaverse and recently showed that a headset warns the user if they are on a fraudulent website and allows them to select and buy items at a virtual store using only their eyes.
5. Texas Social Media Bill
The US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a Texas bill that would make it illegal for any social media platform with over 50 million US users to “block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression.” The Supreme Court granted an emergency request from two industry organizations, which argued that the law would violate the right to editorial discretion on their platforms by a 5-4 decision. Social Media companies and Democrats were all against the law and believed that it would lead to more misinformation and chaos. Because this was an emergency ruling, the prevailing justices did not explain their reasoning but justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, wrote about the significance of this issue and social media. The Texas social media bill will ensure free speech and allow for content removal on a neutral basis, so misinformation spreading should not be an issue. Over the past decade, Social Media companies have grown their influence over the global population and used their power to ban high-profile individuals like Donald Trump. They have too much control over the world, and our government needs to regulate them. There still needs to be regulation on the content posted on social media websites, but tech giants should not have the power to ban high-profile politicians or restrict political posts.
Above were my top stories for the week of June 5, 2022. Thank you, and see you next week!