2018年4月28日 星期六

Daily Bulletin for 04/28/2018 

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How Did the Vikings Cross the Atlantic?

Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlas Obscura

Here is what we know: In the 10th century, some Vikings piled into boats and shoved off the shore of what is now Norway. They eventually ended up in Greenland, more than 1,000 miles away. How they found their way there? No one is exactly sure.It was a long voyage through the dicey water of the North Atlanticthree weeks if all went wellwith land rarely in sight.

One of the Worst Studies I Have Ever Seen

Ross Pomeroy, RealClearScience

A new meta-analysis published in PLoS ONE comparing acupuncture and drugs for the treatment of chronic constipation is one of the worst studies I have ever seen. Chinese researchers from Longhua District Central Hospital in Shanghai, China found that "Acupuncture is more effective than drugs in improving chronic constipation and has the least side effects," but they came to that conclusion by employing misleading tactics intended to produce that result.

Did Math Kill God?

Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

Once upon a time, a great Italian published a work called the Siderius Nuncius. Galileo had seen the moons of Jupiter through his telescope. He had seen Venus moving. So, in 1606, he endorsed the ideas Copernicus had written down a half-century earlier in the De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.

Cancer Dormancy: Why Do Cancer Cells Go to Sleep?

Francesco Crea, Conv

Cancer has always been thought of as something that grows rapidly and uncontrollably, but this view may be wrong. New evidence suggests that cancer alternatively uses the accelerator and the brake in order to survive.If you plot the growth of prostate cancer tumour progression over years, you get a graph that looks something like this:

Scientists Keep Pig Brains Alive Outside Body for 36 Hours

Nicola Davis, Guard

Researchers in the US say they have managed to keep the brains of decapitated pigs alive outside of the body for up to 36 hours by circulating an oxygen-rich fluid through the organs.While the scientists, led by Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan, say the brains are not conscious, they add the feat might help researchers to probe how the brain works, and aid studies into experimental treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to dementia.

Bill Gates Wants to Make a Universal Flu Vaccine

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Bill Gates fancies himself an optimist. Global health, he feels, is on an upward trajectory. Childhood deaths are plummeting. Polio is on the verge of eradication.But if there's one issue that punctures his positivity, it's the possibility that the world will face a serious pandemicand the near certainty that we aren't prepared for it.

Famous Aging Scientist Says We Shouldn't Live Forever

Brian Gallagher, Nautilus

In the Netflix anime series Knights of Sidonia, humankind is marooned in a spaceship 500,000-strong, refugees constantly on the run from shapeshifting aliens who destroyed Earth over 1,000 years ago. Both the patriarchy and poverty have been smashed. Advances in genetic engineering have allowed androgynous individuals to proliferate and asexual reproduction to become commonplace.

Physicists Race to Reproduce 'Cosmic Dawn' Signal

Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

Researchers are heading to some of the most remote spots on Earth from the Tibetan Plateau to an island in the sub-Antarctic ocean to try to capture an enigmatic radio signal from the early Universe. This grand search, which could even involve a mission to the Moon, includes some of the first experiments to follow up on a surprise announcement in February that astronomers had seen evidence of the Universe's first stars lighting up1, a moment known as the cosmic dawn.

Formamide: Life's Early Alternative to Water?

Lisa Kaspin-Powell, Astrobiology

An organic compound called formamide could have acted in place of water as a solvent (meaning it can dissolve molecules) in early life on Earth, according to new research describing how formamide could have formed when exposed to natural concentrations of radioactive elements.Water is essential to life as we know it, from the oldest primitive single-celled organisms to the vast panoply of complex multicellular life existing today.

Franklinia: America's Mysterious Lost Tree

Allison Meier, JSTOR Daily

Along the Altamaha River near Georgia's Fort Barrington, the Franklinia alatamaha was witnessed for the first and last times. The tree was initially recorded by botanists John and William Bartram, a father-son team from Philadelphia, in October 1765. The Bartrams were out exploring because earlier that year, King George III appointed John his Royal Botanist for North America.

I Used to Be a Holistic Nutritionist

Denby Royal, Science-Based Medicine

As someone who has spent the better part of the last decade in the wellness realm, I have a moral obligation to do what is right. And what is right is to denounce my former beliefs, condemning an industry rife with deception.The thing that led me to become a holistic nutritionist in the first place was my innate ability to doubt and criticize absolutely everything around me a trait I believed I had well sharpened.

Six Things That Make Life on Earth Possible

Conant, Chwastyk, & Canales, Nat Geo

Earth is well equipped as a planet and ideally placed in our solar system and galaxy to support life as we know it. The product of some 4.6 billion years of cosmic construction, our planet is flush with life thanks to a fortuitous set of conditions.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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