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Weekly: Why we should drill a massive hole in the moon; banning fossil fuel advertising; how to stop being lonely

7 June 2024

About this episode

#253

The moon may hold the answer to a decades-long physics conundrum – all we need to do is drill several kilometres into its surface. For years, physicists have been searching for protons that fall apart or decay into other particles, but they’ve always come up empty handed. So why do they think they might find them on the moon? 

A new update on the state of the world’s climate has not brought cheery news. A report looking at 2023 has revealed the world is warming at a record rate – with estimates suggesting we may blow past our 1.5oC temperature goals in just five years. As the UN Secretary General calls for urgent action, we hear about calls to ban fossil fuel advertising, just as ads for smoking were banned in the past. 

If you ever feel lonely… you’re not alone. Social connections are hugely beneficial for our health. But many of us aren’t reaping their full therapeutic benefits, often due to our own misconceptions about social situations. But researchers are on the case, with simple tools and tricks to help us connect better to other people. David Robson shares some actionable tips, as he discusses his new book .

Five children born deaf have gained the ability to hear in both ears after receiving a new gene therapy. The groundbreaking treatment targets a gene called otoferlin, which is defective in some people with deafness – and the results are very encouraging.

It’s been uncovered that as many as 1 in 6 people who come off antidepressants end up with severe withdrawal symptoms, like mood swings, anxiety and headaches. Why a better understanding of these symptoms could help people make more informed choices about their use and how to safely stop.

Plus: Boeing launches its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station with two Nasa astronauts aboard; and SpaceX’s performs its fourth test launch of Starship – the largest rocket ever built.

Hosts Rowan Hooper and Christie Taylor discuss with guests Alex Wilkins, Madeleine Cuff, Michael Le Page and Clare Wilson.

To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

Read Clare Wilson’s award-winning story about DNA testing here: /article/mg25734303-400-new-dna-tests-predict-your-disease-risk-are-we-ready-for-them/

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