2018年4月26日 星期四

Daily Bulletin for 04/26/2018 

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Grisly Details of Swedish Iron Age Massacre

Owen Jarus, Live Science

About 1,500 years ago, in a ring-shaped fort, at least 26 men and women were massacred. Many of them were taken by surprise, with not even enough time to face their attackers and their bodies were left to rot, unburied, on the Swedish island of land in the Baltic Sea.

Why Ehrlich Is Wrong About World Collapse

Steven Novella, Neurologica

In 1968, 50 years ago, Paul Ehrlich and his wife published The Population Bomb, which famously predicted mass starvation by the end of the next decade. Ehrlich's predictions failed largely because of the green revolution, the dramatic increase in agricultural productivity. You would think that being famous for a dramatically failed prediction would bring humility, but Ehrlich is still at it. In a recent interview he argues that the collapse of civilization is a near certainty within decades.

Largest Map of the Milky Way Released

George Seabroke, The Conversation

Most of us have looked up at the night sky and wondered how far away the stars are or in what direction they are moving. The truth is, scientists don't know the exact positions or velocities of the vast majority of the stars in the Milky Way. But now a new tranche of data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, aiming to map stars in our galaxy in unprecedented detail, has come in to shed light on the issue.

To Communicate With Apes, We Must Learn Their Language

Rachel Nuwer, PBS

On August 24, 1661, Samuel Pepys, an administrator in England's navy and famous diarist, took a break from work to go see a strange creature that had just arrived on a ship from West Africa. Most likely, it was a chimpanzeethe first Pepys had ever seen. As he wrote in his diary, the great baboon was so human-like that he wondered if it were not the offspring of a man and a she-baboon.

Evidence Mounts for Majorana Quasiparticles in Solids

Tim Wogan, Phys World

The strongest experimental evidence yet for the existence of Majorana quasiparticles in solids has been found by two independent groups of physicists. The research could lead to the creation of topologically-protected quantum computers that are robust to the harmful effects of environmental noise.In 1937 the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana predicted a fermion that would behave as its own antiparticle.

What's Wrong with Growing Blobs of Brain Tissue?

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Last week, Rusty Gage and colleagues at the Salk Institute announced that they had successfully transplanted lab-grown blobs of human brain tissue into mice. Gage's team grew the blobs, known as brain organoids, from human stem cells. Once surgically implanted into rodent brains, the organoids continued growing, and their neurons formed connections with those of the surrounding brains.

How to Publicly Change Your Mind on GMOs

Devang Mehta, Massive

It's hard to change your views when you are passionate about something. Indeed some cognitive scientists think that holding onto persistent, even if untrue, ideas may have been evolutionarily selected for in the distant past. For scientists working on climate change, vaccines, evolution, and GMOs, this tendency of significant sections of the public to resist facts that run counter to their existing beliefs can be extremely frustrating.

Meet the Beer Can Archaeologist

Nicola Jones, Sapiens

David Maxwell doesn't remember exactly when his fascination with beer began. As a kid I collected bottle caps: hundreds of them. I think I liked them because they were shiny, he says, laughing. The drink itself held little appeal for him when he tried it in his youth. I had my first beer when I was 12 and liked it so much I had my next one when I was 20.

New, Tantalizing Evidence for Quantum Gravity

Sabine Hossenfelder, Backreaction

For my 40th birthday I got a special gift: 2.5 evidence for quantum gravity. It came courtesy of Niayesh Afshordi, Professor of astrophysics at Perimeter Institute, and in contrast to what you might think he didn't get the 2.5 on Ebay. No, he got it from a LIGO-data analysis, results of which he presented at the 2016 conference on Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity.

First Footprint Evidence of Human Hunting Discovered

Jen Viegas, Seeker

Fossilized tracks footprints created thousands of years ago provide some of the best evidence for past behaviors. Sometimes they show animal predators hunting, but none have ever been from humans hunting, until now.Prehistoric footprints for both humans and giant ground sloths have just been discovered at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Ancient Latrines Contain All Sorts of DNA Clues

Katherine Lindemann, R-Gate

As every TV detective rifling through a suspect's trashcan will tell you, you can learn a lot about a person from their waste. Now, with the help of improving DNA analysis techniques, researchers are seeing what they can learn from particularly old waste: that found in ancient latrines. Their study used DNA analysis to identify parasite eggs from latrines at archaeological sites in Bahrain, Jordan, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Lithuania.

Astronomers Spot Collision of 14 Galaxies

Will Dunham, Reuters

Astronomers have detected the early stages of a colossal cosmic collision, observing a pile-up of 14 galaxies 90 percent of the way across the observable universe in a discovery that upends assumptions about the early history of the cosmos.

Ultracool Atoms Mimic Universe's First Moments

Elizabeth Gibney, Nature News

Cosmologists think that in its first moments, the Universe ballooned from a subatomic size to bigger than a grapefruit. But testing theories about this period is difficult, because researchers cannot recreate such extreme conditions.Now, physicists have emulated this cosmic expansion in a lab by creating a model Universe made of ultracold atoms, they report in a paper published last week in Physical Review X1.

Neanderthals May Have Voyaged the Mediterranean

Andrew Lawler, Science

Odysseus, who voyaged across the wine-dark seas of the Mediterranean in Homer's epic, may have had some astonishingly ancient forerunners. A decade ago, when excavators claimed to have found stone tools on the Greek island of Crete dating back at least 130,000 years, other archaeologists were stunnedand skeptical.

Bridenstine Could Forge a New, Lean NASA

Ross Marchand, RealClearScience

On Monday, April 23, Vice President Pence swore in Jim Bridenstine as the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). After months of drama and back-and-forth on Capitol Hill, the longstanding vacancy of the position has finally come to an end.

Children Have Muscles Like Endurance Athletes

Blazevich & Ratel, Conversation

Most of us know children who can run and play for hours and hours, taking only short rests.As a parent or carer, it can be exhausting. For scientists, why this is the case has long been the source of debate is it due to fitness? Or something else?

570 National Academy Scientists Reprimand Trump

Carolyn Kormann, New Yorker

More than five hundred and seventy members of the National Academy of Sciences published a statement on Monday decrying the Trump Administration's denigration of scientific expertise and harassment of scientists. The members, who are acting independently of the N.A.S., represent many fields (social, biological, environmental, physical), but they note that the White House's dismissal of scientific evidence has been particularly egregious in the case of climate change.
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