2018年4月18日 星期三

Daily Bulletin for 04/18/2018 

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The Most Important Equation in the Universe

Ethan Siegel, Forbes

Last week, Perimeter Institute ran a feature where they asked 14 scientists what their favorite equation was, and why. There were many great answers from many different areas of research, from thermodynamics to pure mathematics. Many people went with fundamental equations, like the law of gravity, Newton's famous F = ma, or the Schrdinger equation, which governs quantum particles.

Life May Have Started in 'Nuclear Geyser'

Richard A. Lovett, Cosmos

Life may not have originated in the primordial soup of an ancient pond, according to scientists, but rather in a nuclear geyser powered by an ancient uranium deposit.Shigenori Maruyama of Tokyo Institute of Technology says the idea came from what chemists know about crucial compounds in our own bodies.

The Myth of the Online Echo Chamber

David Robson, BBC Future

Back in the early 2000s many commentators were still marvelling at the freedom of the internet and its democratic potential when the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein offered a stark warning.This virtual Wild West, he said, might allow us to overcome some of the social and geographical barriers between people, so that we establish a more balanced view of the world around us.

The Wealthy Overestimate Their Nutrition Knowledge

Kirshenbaum & Buhler, Conv

Socioeconomics play a significant role in attitudes about food especially concerns about safety and purchasing behavior. And higher income doesn't always correlate with informed choices. On the contrary, our research shows that affluent Americans tend to overestimate their knowledge about health and nutrition.

Probiotic Helps Stressed Students Sleep Better

Hannah Thomasy, Massive

It's 2 am. I've been in bed for hours, but I can't fall asleep. I'm worrying about my upcoming project deadline or whether I'm eating enough protein or that time three months ago a waiter told me to enjoy my meal and I said, You too! I know that I'm not alone in this. Over a third of Americans reported that they experience difficulty sleeping at least once a week, and stress is likely a major factor.

No One Knows How Long the U.S. Coastline Is

Nathaniel Scharping, Discover

How long is the U.S. coastline? It's a straightforward question, and one that's important for scientists and government agencies alike. The U.S. Geological Survey could give you an answer, too, but I'm going to tell you right now that it's wrong.In fact, no one could give you the right answer, and if you look around, you'll find a number of estimations that differ by seemingly improbable amounts.

Meteorite Contains Remnants of a Lost Planet

Ian Sample, The Guardian

Diamonds found in a meteorite that exploded over the Nubian desert in Sudan a decade ago were formed deep inside a lost planet that once circled the sun in the early solar system, scientists say.Microscopic analyses of the meteorite's tiny diamonds revealed they contain compounds that are produced under intense pressure, suggesting the diamonds formed far beneath the surface of a planet.

Why Are Doctors Scared of Exercise?

Travis Saunders, PLoS Blogs

Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of meeting with a number healthcare providers to discuss the role and importance of exercise for their patients. In those interactions, I've noted 2 common themes pop up on a pretty regular basis.

Missile Defense System in Space Could Be a Bad Idea

Emily Conover, SciNews

A beefed-up missile defense system might seem like a good idea in a time of heightened nuclear tensions. But such enhancements could have dangerous consequences.The current U.S. missile defense system isn't all it was cracked up to be, performing unreliably in tests, physicist and missile defense expert Laura Grego argued April 14 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. Enhancing the system's power, however, by building missile defense in space, for example, might put the world on a slippery slope to space warfare, she warned.

Decades-Old Problem Falls to Amateur Mathematician

Evelyn Lamb, Quanta

In 1950 Edward Nelson, then a student at the University of Chicago, asked the kind of deceptively simple question that can give mathematicians fits for decades. Imagine, he said, a graph a collection of points connected by lines. Ensure that all of the lines are exactly the same length, and that everything lies on the plane.

People with Less Political Knowledge Think They Know a Lot

Eric Dolan, P-Post

People who know less about politics are more confident about their political knowledge, according to research published in the scientific journal Political Psychology. The new study found that this effect was exacerbated when partisan identities were activated.The Dunning-Kruger effect holds that individuals with little knowledge about a topic will be, paradoxically, the most confident that they know a lot about the topic.

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.
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