2018年4月17日 星期二

Daily Bulletin for 04/17/2018 

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The Oldest Human Remains Found in the U.S.

Ross Pomeroy, RCScience

We recently shared some of the more amazing examples of ancient archaeology in the United States. This week, we travel even farther back in time to learn about some of the earliest known inhabitants of our country.

Wormholes Could Cast 'Shadows' That We Can Detect

Marcus Woo, Live Science

Wormholes, or hypothetical tunnels through space-time that allow faster-than-light travel, could potentially leave dark, telltale imprints in the sky that might be seen with telescopes, a new study suggests.These slightly bent, oblong wormhole "shadows" could be distinguished from the more circular patches left by black holes and, if detected, could show that the cosmic shortcuts first proposed by Albert Einstein more than a century ago are, in fact, real, one researcher says.

The Troubling Legacy of the Robbers Cave Study

David Shariatmadari, Guardian

July 1953: late one evening in the woods outside Middle Grove, New York state, three men are having a furious argument. One of them, drunk, draws back his fist, ready to smash it into his opponent's face. Seeing what is about to happen, the third grabs a block of wood from a nearby pile. Dr Sherif! If you do it, I'm gonna hit you, he shouts.

The Evolutionary Lessons of Crustacean Penises

Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian

It's no secret that male and female animals tend to differ in their appearance. Human males are larger on average than human females, for instance, to a degree consistent with what's observed in other primates. Sometimes, as with peahens and their strutting peacock counterparts, the divergence can be more striking. According to a new study in Nature, though, less might be more in the long run when it comes to this kind of variation.

Ultra-Accurate Clocks Lead Search for New Physics Laws

Gabriel Popkin, Quanta

In the late 1990s, Jun Ye, a young physicist at the research institute JILA in Boulder, Colorado, decided to dedicate much of his career to making the world's best atomic clock. He spent some time getting to know different atoms magnesium, calcium and barium. Eventually he settled on strontium for its internal stability. He then set to work building a laser that would tickle strontium atoms at just the right frequency.

Can Biotech Prevent the Banana Apocalypse?

Steve Savage, Genetic Lit. Project

In 1923, Frank Silver and Irving Cohn published a song that became a major hit for the Billy Jones Orchestra, with the signature line Yes, we have no bananas; we have no bananas today. It turned out to be sadly prophetic as, in the 1950s, the banana trees that supplied the entire global banana export business were wiped out by a soil-borne fungal disease known as Panama Wilt.

Want to Feel Unique? Believe in the Reptile People

Roland Imhoff, Aeon

The internet is full of wild-eyed insinuation. Seemingly accidental events are not actually accidental. A few powerful people have hatched plots to bring about certain outcomes, usually with the goal of benefitting the shadowy string-pullers. As Karl Popper noted in Conjectures and Refutations (1963), some people tend to attribute anything they dislike to the intentional design of a few influential others'. While conspiracy theories have long existed, the internet has accelerated their circulation (like the circulation of all information). Who believes in conspiracies, and what might these...

All of the World's Yeast Probably Originated in China

Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

When scientists in France set out to sequence 1,000 yeast genomes, they looked at strains from all the places you might expect: beer, bread, wine.But also: sewage, termite mounds, tree bark, the infected nail of a 4-year-old Australian girl, oil-contaminated asphalt, fermenting acorn meal in North Korea, horse dung, fruit flies, human blood, seawater, a rotting banana.

Dogs Lived with Humans 10,000 Years Ago in the U.S.

Bruce Bower, SciNews

A trio of dogs buried at two ancient human sites in Illinois lived around 10,000 years ago, making them the oldest known domesticated canines in the Americas.Radiocarbon dating of the dogs' bones shows they were 1,500 years older than thought, zooarchaeologist Angela Perri said April 13 at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. The previous age estimate was based on a radiocarbon analysis of burned wood found in one of the animals' graves. Until now, nearly 9,300-year-old remains of dogs eaten by humans at a Texas site were the oldest physical evidence of American canines.

Human Brain Organoids Thrive in Mouse Brains

Ashley Yeager, The Scientist

Mouse brains make nice homes for human brain organoids, researchers report today (April 16) in Nature Biotechnology.Brain organoids, also known as mini-brains, are tiny clumps of brain cells grown from stem cells that researchers are using to investigate the neural underpinnings of autism and other neurological disorders. But the organoids typically grow in culture for only a few months before they die, limiting their usefulness as models of real brains.

How Will the Europa Clipper Get to Europa?

Eric Berger, Ars Technica

At one end of the conference room, four large window panes framed a view of the San Gabriel Mountains. Outside, ribbons of greenery snaked across the hills, a vestige of spring before the dry summer season descends upon Los Angeles.Inside, deep in discussion, a dozen men and women sat around a long, oval-shaped wooden conference table. They were debating how best to send a daring mission, known as Europa Clipper, to Jupiter's mysterious, icy moon Europa.

The Crux of the Conflict Between Science and Religion

M. Anthony Mills, RCR

Are science and religion in conflict? If popular discussions are any guide, the answer must be yes. From the debate over the compatibility of evolution and Christianity to the ongoing disputes between religious apologists and the new atheists, conflict between science and religion seems like an inescapable fact of modern life.

Is Science Hitting a Wall?

John Horgan, Scientific American

Once again, I'm brooding over science's limits. I recently posted Q&As with three physicists with strong opinions on the topic--David Deutsch, Marcelo Gleiser and Martin Rees--as well as this column: Is Science Infinite? Then in March I attended a two-day brainstorming session--which I'll call The Session--with 20 or so science-y folks over whether science is slowing down and what we can do about it.

Nanobots Glide Through Living Cells

Megan Scudellari, IEEE Spectrum

It's time to let go of the idea that nanomachines are simply life-sized technology shrunk down to a very small size, vis- -vis the 1960s movie Fantastic Voyage.In fact, a lot of nanotechnology is much, much cooler. That includes a corkscrew-shaped nanomotor described this week in the journal Advanced Materials. Using small, rotating magnetic fields, researchers steered the itty bitty machines inside of living cells to trace the letters N and M, corresponding to the word nanomotor.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Cases Rising in Australia

Daniel O'Brien, The Conversation

Victoria is facing a worsening epidemic of flesh-eating bacteria that cause a disease known internationally as Buruli ulcer and we don't know how to prevent it. Also called Bairnsdale ulcer or Daintree ulcer, this disease causes destructive skin lesions that can lead to severe illness and occasionally even death.

Unexpected Activities Done in MRI Scanners

Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss

In medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to show what's happening inside the body, producing dynamic images of our internal organs. Using similar technology that tracks blood flow, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans can show neuroscientists neural activity, indicating what parts of the brain light up when, for instance, a person thinks of an upsetting memory or starts craving cocaine.

Predicting Intelligence Is Not Eugenics

Paige Harden, Leaps Magazine

This was the assessment of Dr. Catherine Bliss, a sociologist who wrote a new book on social science genetics, when asked by MIT Technology Review about polygenic scores that can predict a person's intelligence or performance in school. Like a credit score, a polygenic score is statistical tool that combines a lot of information about a person's genome into a single number.
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