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2019年2月12日 星期二

Daily Bulletin for 02/12/2019 

02/12/2019
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How Megaliths Spread Across Europe

Bruce Bower, ScienceNews

From simple rock arches to Stonehenge, tens of thousands of imposing stone structures dot Europe's landscapes. The origins of these megaliths have long been controversial. A new study suggests that large rock constructions first appeared in France and spread across Europe in three waves.

What Lake Hephaestus Tells Us About Life on Mars

Ross Pomeroy, RCScience

More than 11,000 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea exists an environment utterly alien yet eerily familiar to us humans: a lake. But this is unlike any lake that resides above the ocean's surface. Filled with a dark, magnesium chloride-rich brine, it is so salty that it is completely inhospitable to life, and so dense that its surface is clearly distinct from the surrounding saltwater.

Surprising Artifacts From Major Roman Naval Battle

Owen Jarus, Live Science

Archaeologists exploring the site of a naval battle fought 2,200 years ago between Rome and Carthage have uncovered clues to how the battle may have unfolded as well as several mysteries.The finds suggest that Carthage reused captured Roman warships during the battle and that Carthaginian sailors may have thrown cargo overboard in a desperate attempt to help their ships escape the Romans.

Global Insect Decline May See 'Plague of Pests'

Matt McGrath, BBC News

A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing "dramatic rates of decline" around the world.The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.

NASA Takes Big Step Towards Human Moon Landings

Eric Berger, Ars Technica

For two years, the Trump administration has made various noises about returning humans to the Moon. There have been bill signings with Apollo astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt. Vice President Mike Pence has traveled to NASA facilities around the country to make speeches. And the president himself has mused about the Moon and Mars.

An Algorithm to Predict Death: Helpful or Unethical?

Karen Weintraub, Leaps Mag

Whenever Eric Karl Oermann has to tell a patient about a terrible prognosis, their first question is always: how long do I have? Oermann would like to offer a precise answer, to provide some certainty and help guide treatment. But although he's one of the country's foremost experts in medical artificial intelligence, Oermann is still dependent on a computer algorithm that's often wrong.

Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch

Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine

It's one thing to turn a cartwheel in an open field. It's another to manage it in a tight space like a bathtub. And that, in a way, is the spirit of one of the most important results in number theory over the past two decades.The result has to do with the sum-product problem, which I wrote about last week. It asks you to take any set of numbers and arrange them in a square grid, then fill in the grid with either the sums or the products of the crosswise pairs.

The Fake Mission to Mars That Fooled the World

Jonathan O'Callaghan, Forbes

Four years ago, you couldn't go a day without hearing about Mars One. Outlets including The Washington Post, the BBC, CNN, Fox News, and many more were swept up by the project's promise of colonizing Mars, despite scientists ruthlessly and regularly pointing out its flaws. Now the false promise is over.

We Can Actually Prevent Depression in Some Cases

Ricardo Munoz, Sci American

More than 300 million individuals worldwide suffer from major depression. About 16 million of them are in the U.S., where 90 percent report difficulties with work, home or social activities related to their symptoms. While there are many effective treatments for depression, including medications and psychological therapies, the rate of depression is not going down, and treatment is not enough to reduce the burden.

Overdue: A U.S. Advisory Board for Research Integrity

Nature News

When it comes to fostering rigour and scientific integrity, US research institutions are stuck. Working out best practice is far from straightforward, and faculty members can be resistant to top-down directives. So, on a day-to-day basis, the conventions that research groups have for documenting methods and results, conducting analyses and allocating credit are often less than optimal.

Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

Ross Andersen, The Atlantic

Amid the human crush of Old Delhi, on the edge of a medieval bazaar, a red structure with cages on its roof rises three stories above the labyrinth of neon-lit stalls and narrow alleyways, its top floor emblazoned with two words: birds hospital.

What Phase Transitions Teach Us About Stampedes

Eleanor Hook, Phys Central

After the polar vortex that recently plunged much of North America into subzero temperatures, examples of stunning phase transitions abound. Videos of boiling water condensing into snow and supercooled water instantly crystalizing swept the internet alongside my personal favorite: bubbles freezing before your eyes.

The Exercise 'Recovery' Industry Is Largely Bogus

Julia Belluz, Vox

When health journalist Christie Aschwanden was traveling the world as a competitive ski racer in the 1990s and 2000s, recovery between training sessions basically meant doing nothing taking a day to sleep in or lie around with a good book.About a decade ago, she noticed something had changed: recovery became a thing athletes actively performed with foam rollers, cryotherapy, or cupping as part of their training routines.

A Thick Cortex Makes Learning Languages Easier

Nancy Bazilchuk, ScienceNordic

Researchers have long known that the brain changes when people learn a new language. But the relationship between the ability to learn a new language and the structure of the brain before the language has been learned has been a mystery until now, says Mikael Roll, a neurolinguist at Lund University in Sweden.

Could We Build a Space Station Inside an Asteroid?

David Nield, Science Alert

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it's a wild possibility scientists are actually exploring: how to fit a space station inside an asteroid.Why would we attempt such a bizarre feat of astro-engineering? Because the spin of the asteroid would create enough gravity for mining equipment to be effectively used, giving us a way to tap into the rich minerals and deposits inside these celestial rocks.

Are Intellectuals Suffering a Crisis of Meaning?

Scott Barry Kaufman, Sci American

I've been wondering lately about the link between intelligence and meaning. People with high intelligence tend to adopt a critical attitude towards the world, and avoid relying on positive illusions. While these skills gain you accolades in school, are they really valued in today's world?

What Weed Dependence Feels Like

Judith Grisel, Popular Mechanics

I was an avid marijuana smoker for nearly ten years of my youth, and today I am a neuroscientist who studies addiction. I loved the taste, the smell, and the fabulous buffering effects of weed separating me from the messy business of interacting with other people and fulfilling my daily obligationsas well as the promise of something new and glittering in the midst of the relatively unappealing present.
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