2018年3月16日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 03/16/2018 

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We Reverse Engineered the Cuba Sonic Attack

Xu, Fu & Yan, IEEE

Throughout last year, mysterious ailments struck dozens of U.S. and Canadian diplomats and their families living in Cuba. Symptoms included dizziness, sleeplessness, headache, and hearing loss; many of the afflicted were in their homes or in hotel rooms when they heard intense, high-pitched sounds shortly before falling ill.

How Einstein Nearly Messed Up Relativity

Kevin Hartnett, Quanta

Albert Einstein released his general theory of relativity at the end of 1915. He should have finished it two years earlier. When scholars look at his notebooks from the period, they see the completed equations, minus just a detail or two. That really should have been the final theory, said John Norton, an Einstein expert and a historian of science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Brain Preservation Is a Step Closer

Sue Blackmore, The Guardian

Are you longing for your brain and all its memories to be preserved for ever? That once fanciful idea seems creepily closer now that a complete pig's brain has been successfully treated, frozen, rewarmed and found to have its neural connections still intact.

Climate Science Goes to Court Next Week

Maddie Stone, Earther

In a remarkable development in what's shaping up to be a high-profile legal battle, a U.S. District Court judge has ordered a first-of-its kind court hearing on the science of climate change. It's already drawing comparisons to the famed 1920s Scopes Trial on teaching evolution in classrooms.

How Do People React to Psychology's 'Racism' Test?

Christian Jarrett, R-Digest

Many millions of people around the world have taken the implicit association test (IAT) hosted by Harvard University. By measuring the speed of your keyboard responses to different word categories (using keys previously paired with a particular social group), it purports to show how much subconscious or implicit prejudice you have towards various groups, such as different ethnicities.

Media Mangles Story on Twin Astronauts' DNA

John Timmer, Ars Technica

Something very strange happened in the world of science news this week. A month-and-a-half-old press release, which reiterated news that was released in 2017, suddenly spawned a flurry of coverage. To make matters worse, a lot of that coverage repeated claims that range from biologically nonsensical to impossible. So if you've seen any mention of astronaut Scott Kelly's DNA this week, it's probably best if you immediately forget anything you read about it.

Oldest DNA from Africa Gives Clues to Ancient Culture

Ann Gibbons, Science

About 15,000 years ago, in the oldest known cemetery in the world, people buried their dead in sitting positions with beads and animal horns, deep in a cave in what is now Morocco. These people were also found with small, sophisticated stone arrowheads and points, and 20th century archaeologists assumed they were part of an advanced European culture that had migrated across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa.

The Biology Behind the Fertility Clinic Meltdown

Ricki Lewis, PLoS Blogs

The spindle apparatus is among the most elegant structures in a cell, quickly self-assembling from microtubules and grabbing and aligning chromosomes so that equal sets separate into the two daughter cells that result from a division. But can spindles in cells held at the brink of division in the suspended animation of the deep freeze at a fertility clinic survive being ripped from their slumber off-protocol, as happened the weekend of March 4 at the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco and University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland?

Australia's Jurassic Park Leaves Lasting Impressions

John Pickrell, Cosmos

Dawn bathes the floodplain in amber light and pink-hued clouds decorate the distant horizon. The air is sticky with humidity. Buzzing insects have broken the silence of the night and something enormous is on the move; the vibrations are felt first, the massive footfalls of creatures up to 70 tonnes in weight and 30 metres in length.Across this river delta about 10 km from the coast on the supercontinent of Gondwana a herd of long-necked sauropods is pacing. They cross sandbars between braided river channels.

Babies Can Logically Reason Before Learning to Talk

Angela Chen, The Verge

One-year-old babies may not be able to speak, but they are able to think logically, according to new research that shows the earliest known foundation of our ability to reason.Legendary psychologist Jean Piaget believed that we didn't have logical reasoning abilities until we were seven, but scientists scanned the eyes of 48 babies and found that they're able to reason through the process of elimination. The research was published today in the journal Science.

How Do We Know if an Ancient Fossil Was Alive?

Sophia Roosth, Aeon Magazine

In September 2016, Nature reported that 3.7-billion-year-old putative stromatolites had been discovered in Greenland. Stromatolites are somewhat like ancient fossilised coral reefs, if those reefs had been built by microbes rather than coral. They are some of the most easily identifiable evidence of life on early Earth.

Stop the Cyberbullying of Scientists

Alex B. Berezow, ACSH

Stephan Neidenbach is a middle school technology teacher. To counter the barrage of misinformation about biotechnology on the internet, he began a Facebook page called We Love GMOs and Vaccines. He quickly gained prominence among science communicators.

The Great Lie of Particle Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder, Backreaction

You haven't seen headlines recently about the Large Hadron Collider, have you? That's because even the most skilled science writers can't find much to write about.There are loads of data for sure, and nuclear physicists are giddy with joy because the LHC has delivered a wealth of new information about the structure of protons and heavy ions.

Why It's So Hard to Build a Better Flu Vaccine

Bethany Halford, C & E News

By all accounts, the 201718 influenza season has been a bad one. It feels like everyone's family has been hit, sometimes twice. Schools have had to shut down to disinfect; hospitals are overcrowded.By February, the number of people in the U.S. going to see their doctor with flu-like symptoms reached levels not seen since 2009, when the country battled the swine flu pandemic.

Citizen Scientist Spots New Type of Aurora

Ramin Skibba, National Geographic

While the northern and southern lights have dazzled watchers of the night sky for millennia, vigilant citizen scientist photographers found another type of aurora over the past few years: a short-lived shimmering purple ribbon of plasma. Their intriguing discovery drew the attention of space scientists, who have just begun to study them.

Weird Vibrations Poised to Control Quantum Computers

Adrian Cho, Science

For the moment, microwave photons are the keys to many quantum computers: Physicists use them to program, read out, and otherwise manipulate the machines' quantum bits. But microwave technology is bulky, and its quantum states don't last very long. Now, several groups are exploring a new way to talk to a quantum computer: with tiny vibrations, normally carriers of pesky heat and noise.

DARPA Is Funding Time Crystal Research

Ryan Mandelbaum, Gizmodo

You probably scratched your head last year if you read about time crystals, likely 2017's most esoteric, widely covered popular science story. Even if you understood how they worked, you might not have known what use they could have. Time crystals, systems of atoms that maintain a periodic ticking behavior in the presence of an added electromagnetic pulse, have now piqued the interest of one well-funded government agency: the Department of Defense.
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