A billion light years away.
1. Astronomers have detected a mysterious radio burst with a pattern akin to a heartbeat emerging from a galaxy about a billion light years away. The fast radio burst, named FRB 20191221A, was picked up on radio telescope by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (Chime) at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia. Its cause and the galaxy from which it came are unknown. Astronomers using Chime spotted the signal in 2019 and have just set out their findings in the Nature journal. The team said it was unusual because it lasted for about three seconds, a thousand times longer than is typical. (Source: thetimes.co.uk)
2. These are tough times for U.S. military recruiting. Almost across the board, the armed forces are experiencing large shortfalls in enlistments this year — a deficit of thousands of entry-level troops that is on pace to be worse than any since just after the Vietnam War. It threatens to throw a wrench into the military’s machinery, leaving critical jobs unfilled and some platoons with too few people to function. Covid-19 is part of the problem. Lockdowns during the pandemic have limited recruiters’ ability to forge bonds face to face with prospects. And the military’s vaccine mandate has kept some would-be troops away. The current white-hot labor market, with many more jobs available than people to fill them, is also a factor, as rising civilian wages and benefits make military service less enticing. But longer-term demographic trends are also taking a toll. Less than a quarter of young American adults are physically fit to enlist and have no disqualifying criminal record, a proportion that has shrunk steadily in recent years. And shifting attitudes toward military service mean that now only about one in 10 young people say they would even consider it. (Source: nytimes.com)
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