2018年3月23日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 03/23/2018 

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Reduced-Calorie Diet May Slow Aging

Alison Abbott, Nature News

A study of people who reduced the calories they consumed has found the strongest evidence yet that such restrictions can slow down human metabolism. The results raise hopes that a low-calorie lifestyle or treatments that mimic the biological effects of restricted eating could prolong health in old age and even extend life.

Putin's Nuclear-Powered Missile Is Possible

Sean Gallagher, Ars Tech

In a March 1, 2018 speech before Russia's Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed new strategic weapons being developed to counter United States ballistic missile defenses. Two of these weapons are allegedly nuclear powered: a previously revealed intercontinental-range nuclear torpedo and a cruise missile. As Putin described them:

How the 'Many Worlds' Interpretation Was Born

Adam Becker, Scientific American

Over several rounds of sherry late one night in the fall of 1955, the Danish physicist Aage Petersen debated the mysteries at the heart of quantum physics with two graduate students, Charles Misner and Hugh Everett, at Princeton University. Petersen was defending the ideas of his mentor, Niels Bohr, who was the originator of the Copenhagen interpretation, the standard way of understanding quantum physics.

Primeval Salt Shakes Up Ideas on Earth's Oxygen

Nola Taylor Redd, Sci American

Ancient sea salt drilled from a geologic basin in Russia is providing dramatic new clues as to how Earth's early atmosphere became oxygen-richallowing life as we know it to evolve. Buried deep beneath the surface for billions of years, the salt reveals surprising clues about the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere from long ago.

Solar Silliness: The Heart-Sun Connection

Neuroskeptic, Discover

On Twitter, I learned about a curious new paper in Scientific Reports: Long-Term Study of Heart Rate Variability Responses to Changes in the Solar and Geomagnetic Environment by Abdullah Alabdulgader and colleagues.According to this article, the human heart responds to changes in geomagnetic and solar activity. This paper claims that things like solar flares, cosmic rays and sunspots affect the beating of our hearts.

The Existential Case for Ditching Alexa

Brendan Canavan, The Conversation

Alexa's creepy laugh is far from the most worrying thing about her. This is despite the fact that Amazon's digital assistant which allows users to access the internet and control personal organisation tools simply by speaking to the device has been reported to spontaneously chuckle to herself. We shouldn't be too concerned about her going rogue and turning on us either a Terminator-style takeover by artificial intelligence doesn't seem imminent.

Why Children's Books Must Get Science Right

Claire Eamer, Hakai Magazine

In Joyce Wan's 2015 picture book, The Whale in My Swimming Pool, a large and very round blue whale sits on top of a boy's tiny play pool, spouting water out of its blowhole. In the popular 2003 animated film Finding Nemo, two fish gulped down by a baleen whale escape when the whale shoots them out on a jet of water.

Black Hole Echoes Would Reveal Break with Einstein

Sabine Hossenfelder, Quanta

We all dream the same dream, here in theoretical physics. We dream of the day when one of our equations will be plotted against data and fit spot on. It's rare for this dream to come true. Even if it does, some don't live to see it.Take, for example, Albert Einstein, who passed away in 1955, 60 years before his equations' most stunning consequence was confirmed: Space-time has periodic ripples gravitational waves that can carry energy across billions of light-years.

Why Astronomy Is Better from the Ground

Ethan Siegel, Forbes

When you think about what's out there in the abyss of deep space, whether you're looking out at the planets in our Solar System or the most distant galaxies perceptible in the Universe, the instrument most people think about using for the best images and data is the Hubble Space Telescope. Perched hundreds of miles above the Earth's atmosphere, issues like clouds, atmospheric distortion, turbulent air, or even pollution are no concern.

Early Life Had Power to Survive Radical Changes

Charles Q. Choi, Astrobiology

Life on Earth could have originated in cold conditions near the surface, before spreading to warmer environments, according to research that analyzes the possible gene sequences belonging to the earliest life.All life on Earth today originates from two distinct developments in our planet's biological history. These are the emergence of the first life forms billions of years ago, and the subsequent evolution of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of all extant organisms.

Who Should Pay for Climate Change?

Anna Maria Barry-Jester, FiveThirtyEight

Outside a courtroom where a much-anticipated court hearing on climate science took place on Wednesday is an old photo of San Francisco's coastline. Dated 1865, it features an area of the city known as North Beach, which back then was covered in ramshackle wooden houses on a sandy slope nuzzled up against the shore.

The Real Reasons You Shouldn't Clone Your Dog

Jacob Brogan, Smithsonian

Three years ago, CheMyong Jay Ko received a call from a distraught older man. Ko, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's College of Veterinary Medicine, listened as the caller told him that his dog had just rushed into traffic and been struck by a truck, killing it immediately. He had called Ko with a simple but urgent question: Would it be possible to clone his beloved pet?

Who's Afraid of Noam Chomsky?

Michael Corballis, Psychology Today

Who's afraid? Me. But let's press on anyway.Noam Chomsky is a polarizing figure in modern intellectual life. Best known in popular discourse for his radical criticism of US foreign policy, he has written countless best-selling books on this and related political topics. It is as a philosopher and linguist, though, that he is likely to be best remembered intellectually, leading some to claim him as the foremost intellectual of our timeon a par with, say, Aristotle or Descartes.

Silicon Valley Is Obsessed with Fad Diets

Stephen Armstrong, Wired UK

If Silicon Valley was a friend of yours, you would be mounting an intervention into their eating habits right now.Every fad diet, odd food trend and even potentially lethal drink on the self-help shelf has eager devotees among the upper echelons of the Valley, all gathered under the tattered banner of biohacking.

Book Explores the Many Riddles of Consciousness

Harriet Hall, Skeptical Inquirer

For most of human history, people have assumed that some kind of vitalistic essence had to be added to matter to produce life. The belief in an immaterial soul was pervasive. At one point, a scientist even tried to weigh the soul by weighing a body right before and after death, expecting to find a decrease when the soul departed (see Benjamin Radford's column in the Skeptical Inquirer Measuring Near-Death Experience, May/June 2007).

Did Complex Animals Lead to More Oxygen?

Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta

Approximately 540 million years ago, life rapidly diversified in an evolutionary burst a biological Big Bang that witnessed the emergence of nearly every modern animal group. Scientists have long sought to determine what caused the Cambrian explosion, and to explain why animal life didn't take this step at any point about a billion years earlier.
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