north korea
Channel Un
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CREDIT: Gielmichal/Shutterstock.com (remote); KCNA KCNA/Reuters (Kim Jong Un)

If North Korea had its own version of Netflix, what would it look like? The answer is Manbang, the new video streaming service unveiled recently by the renegade Communist nation. Instead of hit shows and movies, Manbang streams propaganda, such as sanitized reports on dictator Kim Jong Un’s activities, and other government-approved fare, including Russian sitcoms. (Russia and North Korea recently strengthened ties.) North Korean official Ju Dae-hyun, speaking on state TV, said Manbang has been “elevating the people’s cultural life a step up by allowing them to watch what they want any time they want.” One of the most repressive and isolated countries in the world, North Korea heavily censors what its citizens see, and most of its 25 million people have no internet access. But illegal foreign media smuggled in from China, including American and South Korean movies and music, are popular on North Korea’s black markets. That’s probably why the country is providing its own version of must-see TV.

space
The ‘Twins Study’
Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly
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Astronauts Mark (left) and Scott Kelly are helping NASA prepare for Mars missions.

CREDIT: Astronauts Mark (left)  and Scott Kelly are helping NASA prepare for Mars missions.

How are humans affected by spending a long time in space? To find out, NASA turned to twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly. While Mark stayed on Earth, Scott spent a year aboard the International Space Station, returning in March 2016. He and Mark underwent a series of medical tests before and after the mission. The result? A year in space affected the composition of Scott’s DNA, slowed his reflexes, and even temporarily made him two inches taller. And the ends of Scott’s chromosomes—which typically shorten with age—actually lengthened, before returning to normal back on Earth. The study offers important clues about how humans would handle a Mars mission, which would take a minimum of 18 months and could happen by the 2030s. “We just don’t have [much data on] human beings in space for really long periods of time,” says John O’Meara, a physics professor at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. “Clearly Mars is the next horizon for NASA.”

NUMBERS IN THE NEWS

    • $781,000

      VALUE of a winning lottery ticket found recently by an Australian man cleaning out his car. He quickly cashed the ticket.

      SOURCE: $781,000
    • 232,000

      NUMBER of people who have moved out of the Midwest since 2015. The Northeast also saw a decrease in population, while the South and West grew, continuing a long-term trend.

      SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau
    • 300 million

      NUMBER of children worldwide who are exposed to toxic levels of air pollution, according to a recent study.

      SOURCE: Unicef
    • 25

      NUMBER of glaciers remaining in Glacier National Park in Montana, down from 150 in 1910. Climate change is seen as the major cause of the decline. 

      SOURCE: National Wildlife Federation
survey says . . .
How Teens Get Their News

Amid the explosion of fake news online, teens were asked in a recent survey where they get their news. The graph shows the news sources they said they had used in the previous 24 hours. Do the results surprise you? What sources do you use for your news?

nature
End of an Ancient Oak
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The Great White Oak may be the oldest oak tree in the world; now it’s on the chopping block. 

CREDIT: iStock/Getty images

It’s the oldest oak tree in the Western Hemisphere—and possibly the world—and it will soon be gone. The Great White Oak in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was already 300 years old when General George Washington met with his friend the Marquis de Lafayette of France under its massive canopy during the Revolutionary War (1775-83). But scientists have now declared the tree dead at the ripe old age of about 600. After months of failed efforts to save it, the town is expected to cut it down in late April. What doomed the 100-foot-tall oak? A combination of old age—white oaks have a life expectancy of about 300 years—and a common fungal infection. “It’s similar to someone very old dying from a bad cold,” says Jason Grabosky, an ecologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “The tree just couldn’t fight off that infection.”

Ethical Dilemma
Checking the Race Box
girl thinking
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CREDIT: Radius Images/Alamy Stock Photo

I’m a 17-year-old who is half-Hispanic and half-Caucasian. I’m not disadvantaged, so is it unethical for me to list my race as Hispanic on college applications? —Anonymous, New York

ANSWER Colleges ask about the racial and ethnic backgrounds of their applicants not only to compensate them for presumed disadvantages, but also to assemble a diverse group of students. You could always write half-Hispanic, half-Caucasian on the form. But if you’re limited to marking a single box, you may check ‘’Hispanic’’ with a clear conscience.

Adapted from ‘Social Q’s’ in The New York Times-

CREDITS: Eylulg/Shutterstock.com (money); Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times/Getty images (boy covering face; Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com (teens on phones)

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