BBC Inside Science
Where next World Wide Web? Space rocks and worms
Thursday, 21 March
30 years ago Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as a way to let physicists share their papers and data on a distributed network. It's changed a lot since then and not all for the better. Dominant technology companies monopolise our data and many, including Berners-Lee are worried about the growth of state sponsored hacking, misinformation and scamming. One solution is to re-decentralise the web, giving us more control of our information and what is done with it, but at what cost? Founder and director of Redecentralize.org, Irina Bolychevsky and technology guru Bill Thompson discuss the future.
BBC Space Correspondent Jonathan Amos has news on some space rocks this week. Ultima and Thule, make up a bi-lobe comet out in the far reaches of the Solar System in the Kuiper Belt. Ultima-Thule was visited by the New Horizons mission in January. More data is being analysed and giving scientists insight into how these two planetary building blocks collided and merged and also on how it got its strange flattened shape. Another rock seems to be a rubble pile. The asteroid Ryugu is currently hosting the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft and landers. Jonathan explains to Gareth what stage the missions' audacious sample collect and return is now at. And there's a shock discovery by spacecraft OSIRIS-REx from asteroid Bennu. The NASA spacecraft analysing the asteroid has observed it shooting out plumes of dust that surround it in a dusty haze. It's a phenomenon never seen in an asteroid before.
Back down on Earth and under the surface of the earth are the earthworms. As any savvy gardener will know, earthworms make a big difference to the health of soil and plants. What isn’t as well understood is how changes to the soil - like climate change and the intensification of agricultural practices - have impacted on the all-important worm population. In fact, scientists don’t even know what’s down there, wriggling underneath the surface. To find out, farmers recently undertook to the first worm survey in the UK. Finding that 42% of fields had very few or completely lacked key types of earthworm, the results suggest that over-cultivation has led to poor soil health in significant amounts of farmland.
Producer: Fiona Roberts