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This Week In Science!

author

Philip Brayne

Creative Services Assistant

clockDec 10 2021, 14:43 UTC

New Zealand To Outlaw Smoking For All Future Adults

Expected to come into force next year, new legislation in New Zealand will see the legal smoking age increase annually, so that those born after 2008 will never be allowed to buy cigarettes in their lifetime. The new legislation will also drastically restrict the amount of nicotine that cigarettes can contain, while reducing the number of outlets that are allowed to sell tobacco products.

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"Suicide Pod" Passes Legal Review In Switzerland, May Be Available Next Year

A "suicide capsule" allowing fast and painless self-euthanasia has just passed Switzerland’s legal review proceedings and is now legal for use in the country. The pod will flood with nitrogen and decrease the oxygen content. Within 30 seconds, the individual supposedly feels a euphoric-like state, as the brain becomes hypoxic, before painlessly passing away. Once the person has passed, the pod can be used as a coffin.

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Ancient Assyrian Armor Found In China Proves Technology Transfer Is Older Than We Realize

A piece of nearly 3,000-year-old armor found in Yanghai cemetery, Northwest China, may have originally been manufactured in the Neo-Assyrian Empire – a land that covered parts of modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Egypt. The armor, dated to between 786 and 543 BCE, was originally discovered in 2013, in the tomb of a 30-ish-year-old soldier – but how it got there was something of a mystery

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"Potentially Hazardous” And Extremely Valuable Asteroid To Whizz By Earth This Weekend

Nereus is considered one of the best asteroid targets for humans to visit, and possibly to mine – with an estimated $4.7 billion worth of iron, nickel, and cobalt. It will make its closest approach to Earth for decades this Saturday, visible in backyard telescopes, for those under dark skies, and in the Northern Hemisphere. The nearest pass in the next two centuries is in 2060, still three times further away than the Moon.

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Pfizer Boosters Show Some Benefit Against Omicron, Initial Data Suggests

A report, not yet peer-reviewed and based on just 12 participants, has been released from the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, and here’s the takeaway: it’s bad, but not as bad as it could be. Omicron is able to escape vaccine antibodies – but not completely. A key fear among virologists when the Omicron variant was first spotted was that its high number of mutations may render current vaccines useless.

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What The Meat Paradox Tells Us About Human Psychology

To resolve the dissonance between “I love animals” and “I love meat,” we have two choices: either decide we don’t like animals all that much, or give up meat. For most of us, neither seems very appealing, so we go for option three: pretend the two ideas have no connection to each other. How can so many of us claim to love animals while supporting their suffering? That’s the meat paradox.

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