2018年4月20日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 04/20/2018 

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Most High-Tech Nazi Submarine Found

Brandon Specktor, Live Science

Two days before the Allied forces declared victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, a high-tech German submarine set out from Denmark on a mysterious mission.The sub was a brand-new Type XXI U-boat, hailed as the most advanced Nazi submarine of its time. It was deadly quiet, superfast and allegedly capable of traveling from Europe to South America without having to surface.

The Government Does Not Understand GMOs

Tirzah Duren, RealClearScience

Beginning in 2015, the makers of KIND snack bars found themselves in what would become a drawn out legal battle. This March, the latest drama unfolded regarding a class action lawsuit involving the use of non-GMO labels on their products. This lawsuit has been in a standstill due to a lack of consensus regarding what a genetically modified organism (GMO) is.

How Many Genes Do Cells Need?

Veronique Greenwood, Quanta Magazine

By knocking out genes three at a time, scientists have painstakingly deduced the web of genetic interactions that keeps a cell alive. Researchers long ago identified essential genes that yeast cells can't live without, but new work, which appears today in Science, shows that looking only at those gives a skewed picture of what makes cells tick: Many genes that are inessential on their own become crucial as others disappear.

How Rabid Dog Saliva Became a Remedy in Canada

Scott Gavura, Sci-Based Med

A recent blog post by a British Columbia naturopath is raising questions from health professionals about the practice of naturopathy, and the use of homeopathic remedies. Anke Zimmerman, a Victoria-based naturopath, wrote a blog post on how she treated a child's behavioural problems with a remedy made from a rabid dog's saliva.

How to Talk to Evangelicals About Evolution

Rachel Gross, Smithsonian

Rick Potts is no atheist-evolutionist-Darwinist. That often comes as a surprise to the faith communities he works with as head of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Human Origins Program in Washington, D.C.Raised Protestant with, he likes to say, an emphasis on the protest' the paleoanthropologist spends his weekends singing in a choir that sings both sacred and secular songs.

Escaping from Proxima B Would Be Very Difficult

Abraham Loeb, Sci American

Almost all space missions launched so far by our civilization have been based on chemical propulsion. The fundamental limitation here is easy to understand: a rocket is pushed forward by ejecting burnt fuel gases backwards through its exhaust.

How My Nobel Dream Bit the Dust

Brian Keating, Nautilus

To go back to the beginning, if there was a beginning, means testing the dominant theory of cosmogenesis, the model known as inflation. Inflation, first proposed in the early 1980s, was a bandage applied to treat the seemingly grave wounds cosmologists had found in the Big Bang model as originally conceived. To call inflation bold is an understatement; it implied that our universe began by expanding at the incomprehensible speed of light ... or even faster!

The Unexpected Consequences of a Tennis Racquet

Jonah Lehrer, Jonah Lehrer

In the winter of 1947, Howard Head, an aerospace engineer, was skiing down Stowe Mountain when he decided that wooden skis were a terrible idea. He kept tripping on the long hickory blades; the material was too heavy for such a nimble sport. On the train back to Baltimore, Head began sketching out a new ski made out of airplane parts, focusing on the aluminum alloys and plastic laminates used to construct the fuselage.

Researchers Recreate Interiors of Ice Giants

Nola Taylor Redd, Astronomy

Both Uranus and Neptune are thought to contain about 60 percent of their mass in the form of water, all of it beneath the gaseous surface of the planet. Under such high pressures, the molecules that make up water ice are thought to change their shape. A solid lattice of oxygen atoms sharing their electrons form a semi-conductor, while inside, fast-diffusing hydrogen ions behaving like a liquid. The resulting superionic ice boasts an extraordinarily high ionic electrical conductivity that gives it its name, as well as the ability to endure higher temperatures before melting.

Rare Exploding Ant Discovered

Jason Bittel, National Geographic

High in the treetops of Borneo, there's an ant with a deadly secret. It can explode.On the outside, it's just an inconspicuous, brownish-red ant. It lacks large mandibles, cannot sting,and generally seems like easy pickings for any predator with a rumbly in the tumbly.

When Will the Gender Gap in Science Disappear?

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Sixteen years.That's how long it will take before the number of women on scientific papers is equal to the number of men.Luke Holman from the University of Melbourne got that estimate by working out the number of female and male authors on almost 10 million academic papers, published over the last 15 years.

5,400-Year-Old Skull Suggests Brain Surgery on Cows

Jeff Glorfeld, Cosmos

New analysis of an almost complete skull of a cow from a Neolithic site in France suggests it may have undergone cranial surgery about 5400 years ago, which could provide the earliest evidence of surgical experimentation on an animal.Scientists Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and Alain Froment, from France's Institute of Research for Development, analysed the cow cranium found at the site of Champ-Durand, about 40 kilometres from the Atlantic coast.

Indonesian Divers Evolved to Hunt Underwater

Elizabeth Pennisi, Science

Some of the most exciting discoveries in evolutionary biology in recent years have shown how humans have adapted to extreme conditions, such as living at high altitude. Now, researchers have found that Indonesia's Bajau people, who for generations have spent the majority of their days diving and hunting underwater, also have genetic adaptations for their unusual lifestyle.

The Strangest Illusions Known to Science

Michelle Starr, Science Alert

We just can't resist a good optical illusion. It's simultaneously grounding and deeply disorienting to feel that our perception of the world around us can lie so dramatically. But it's also just fun to trick our own brains.

Why a 'Lifesaving' Depression Treatment Didn't Pass Trials

David Dobbs, Atlantic

Some medical experiments are more daunting than others. The one that the neurologist Helen Mayberg came up with to test a model of depression she had developed over about 15 years involved drilling two holes in the top of a patient's skull and sliding two low-voltage electrodes deep into the brain until they reached a region known as Brodmann area 25.

The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom

Richard Conniff, Smithsonian

Not long ago in northeastern China, I found myself being driven in a Mercedes-Benz SUV down a winding country road, trailed by a small motorcade of local dignitaries, past flat-roofed brick farmhouses and fields full of stubbled cornstalks. Abruptly, we arrived at our destination, and my guide, Fangfang, slipped out of her high heels into fieldwork gear: pink sneakers with bright blue pompoms on the Velcro straps.

Life 2.0: Inside the Synthetic Biology Revolution

James Mitchell Crow, Cosmos

Imagine a future where synthetic jellyfish roam waterways looking for toxins to destroy, where eco-friendly plastics and fuels are harvested from vats of yeast, where viruses are programmed to be cancer killers, and electronic gadgets repair themselves like living organisms.Welcome to the world of synthetic biology, or synbio', where possibilities are limited only by the imagination. Its practitioners don't view life as a mystery but as a machine one that can be designed to solve a slew of pressing global health, energy and environmental problems.
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