2018年4月27日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 04/27/2018 

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Did Neanderthals Die Because of Brain Size?

George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

Using computers and MRI scans, researchers have created the most detailed reconstruction of a Neanderthal brain to date, offering new insights into the social and cognitive abilities of these extinct humans. But as to whether these characteristics were responsible for their ultimate demise remains an open question.

Human Milk May Solve Ice Age Evolutionary Mystery

Leslea Hlusko, Conversation

As biologists explore the variation across the genomes of living people, they've found evidence of evolution at work. Particular variants of genes increase or decrease in populations through time. Sometimes this happens by chance. Other times these changes in frequency result from the gene's helping or hindering individuals' survival, a phenomenon known as selection.

Megan Fox Thinks She Knows More Than Archaeologists

Rae Paoletta, Inverse

In the after, after, afterglow of her Transformers fame, Megan Fox has apparently decided to pivot to conspiracy theories and the Travel Channel is totally on board. Actual archaeologists, however, are not.According to Deadline, the network just gave the green light to Mysteries and Myths with Megan Fox, which bills itself as a four-episode hourlong series starring Megan Fox, who serves as co-creator, host and executive producer.

Towards a Cognitive Theory of Politics

Stephen Messenger, Quillette

In recent years, a consensus has been forming about how we reason and develop the opinions we defend. In his influential 2012 book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt argued that the first principle of moral psychology is: Intuition comes first and reasoning follows. Intuition is the reflexive gut feeling of like or dislike we experience in response to the things we see in the social world around us.

How One Cell Gives Rise to an Entire Body

Elizabeth Pennisi, Science Magazine

One of biology's great mysteries is how a single fertilized egg gives rise to the multitude of cell types, tissues, and organs that fit together to make a body. Now, a combination of single-cell sequencing technologies and computational tools is providing the most detailed picture yet of this process. In three papers online in Science this week, researchers report taking multiple snapshots of gene activity in most of the cells in developing zebrafish or frog embryos.

The EPA Is Acting Like Big Tobacco

Emily Atkin, The New Republic

This is really evil, Professor Stan Glantz said after I sent him an article about the Environmental Protection Agency's new science policy. Unveiled by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday, the policy is a purported effort to improve transparency, but has the effect of radically restricting what science the agency can use to create public health regulations.

NASA Budget Reveals Dim Hopes for Crewed Mars Trip

Eric Berger, Ars Technica

When it comes to spaceflight, there are crazy optimistic schedules like those that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sometimes tosses about, and then there's just plain crazy. Some recent comments from the chief executive of Boeing, an aerospace company that simultaneously holds the most lucrative contracts in NASA's exploration, International Space Station, and commercial crew programs, seem to fall into the latter category.

Mars Quakes to Reveal Clues to Planet's Early Years

Alexandra Witze, Nature

A planetary stethoscope will soon be on its way to listen to the heartbeat of Mars.On 5 May, NASA plans to launch its US$994-million InSight spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission's main job will be to place a seismometer on the Martian surface and listen to seismic waves pinging around the planet's interior.

Evidence Found for the Largest Mass Child Sacrifice

Kristin Romey, Nat Geo

Evidence for the largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in the Americas and likely in world historyhas been discovered on Peru's northern coast, archaeologists tell National Geographic.More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event that took place some 550 years ago on a wind-swept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of what was then the sprawling capital of the Chim Empire.

Probe Poised to Solve Mars' Methane Mystery

Nisha Gaind, Scientific American

For more than a year, a 3.5-tonne spacecraft has been circling Mars in a series of erratic loops. Now, after 1,000 circuits, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has reached the ideal position to study the planet's atmosphere, and has made its first scientific observations. It is poised to solve one of the most controversial mysteries in Martian science: why methane, a possible signature of life, is being released on the red planet.

Space Agencies Pledge to Deliver Mars Rocks to Earth

Paul Rincon, BBC News

The US and European space agencies are edging towards a joint mission to bring back rock and soil samples from Mars.Nasa and Esa have signed a letter of intent that could lead to the first "round trip" to another planet.The move was announced as a meeting in Berlin, Germany, discussed the science goals and feasibility of a Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission.

Letters Reveal Another Side of Richard Feynman

Freeman Dyson, Nautilus

All through a long life I had three main concerns, with a clear order of priority. Family came first, friends second, and work third.So writes the pioneering theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson in the introduction to his newly published collection of letters, Maker of Patterns. Spanning about four decades, the collection presents a first-person glimpse into a life that witnessed epochal changes both in world history and in physics.

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.

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.
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