Today's Science News

December 5, 2023

What Evidence Is There For a "Wood Age" to Rival Those of Stone, Bronze, and Iron? - The advent of stone-, bronze-, and iron-working were all turning points in human history.

December 4, 2023

The Big Picture: The Glory Window at Thanks-Giving Square. - Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas, is home to an exceptional architectural and artistic feature: the Glory Window, a prominent aspect of the square’s Chapel.

The elusive origins of long gamma-ray bursts may finally be revealed - New research helps resolve the mystery surrounding strange long gamma-ray bursts, suggesting these blasts of high-energy radiation emerge from collisions of neutron stars that birth black holes.

30 Years Ago: STS-61, the First Hubble Servicing Mission - “Trying to do stellar observations from Earth is like trying to do birdwatching from the bottom of a lake.”  James B. Odom, Hubble Program Manager 1983-1990.

Space mysteries: Why are there no gas moons? - In our solar system we have rocky moons, ocean moons and frozen-ice moons, but there are no gas moons.

Why 'Girl Math' Caught Our Attention - We play lots of mind games when it comes to spending, but those games can work both ways.

Water firm wrongly downgraded pollution events, documents suggest - Leaked papers suggest United Utilities logged dozens of incidents as less serious than they had been.

COP28: Head of UN talks hits back at climate denial claims - The head of the UN climate talks in Dubai says "everything" he is doing is centred on science.

DAILY DOSE: Make or break time for AI in the EU; Famed giant rat not extinct after all. - CRUNCH TIME FOR EU AI POLICY.

NASA to train Indian astronauts for a week-long trip to ISS in 2024 - NASA will train two Indian astronauts, one of whom will fly to the ISS late next year, a space agency official announced this week.

Strange 'blob' circling Milky Way's central black hole is shooting powerful radiation at Earth every 76 minutes - Regular high-energy pulses of gamma-ray radiation emerging from around the Milky Way's central black hole may be coming from a blob of matter whipping around at 30% the speed of light.

Is Too Little Play Hurting Our Kids? - A long-term decline in unsupervised activity may be contributing to mental health declines in children and adolescents.

Solar storm from 1977 reveals how unprepared we are for the next 'big one' - New research finds that solar storms vary in strength over surprisingly short distances, and the current network of sensors may not be enough to properly prepare for future outbursts.

Could Blood Transfusions and Tissue Transplants Spread Certain Dementias? - Scattered evidence suggests that aberrant proteins act as “seeds” to transmit neurodegenerative disease, but the jury is still out

First images capture world's largest iceberg - The UK's polar research vessel visits A23a, an iceberg that's more than twice the size of London.

A Huge Italian Volcano Could Be Ready to Erupt - Italy’s Campi Flegrei volcano has caused thousands of recent earthquakes and pushed up the ground, worrying 1.3 million residents

Is Earth inside a giant void? It could solve one of cosmology's biggest puzzles - Our best observations can't come up with a single answer for how quickly the universe is expanding.

NASA Lab's Workforce Woes Threaten Major Space Missions - A brain drain from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory could pose problems for the space agency’s ambitious science plans

NASA, Partners Launch US Greenhouse Gas Center to Share Climate Data - NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, and other United States government leaders unveiled

Pumping cold water into rivers could help fish chill out - Hundreds of salmon, trout and other fish sought shelter from summer heat in the human-made cool zones.

CSIRO stresses ‘faster reduction’ in emissions than government target - Australia’s chief science agency has mapped out how the country can quickly get to net zero – but some proposals are controversial.

Scientists Say: Prime number - Prime numbers’ unique quality — being divisible only by themselves and one — makes them useful for encrypting secret information.

Near-Earth asteroids: Hunting and tracking upcoming encounters - Here we explore whether there are any upcoming asteroid encounters and how NASA and other space agencies actively monitor near-Earth asteroids that have the potential to hit our planet.

A Russian cargo ship burnt to a crisp in Earth's atmosphere while ISS astronauts watched - A Russian spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station, only to burn up in Earth's atmosphere hours later as part of a routine waste disposal mission.

What does space smell like? - Outer space has a particular stench.

Generative model unveils secrets of material disorder - National University of Singapore (NUS) scientists have utilized generative machine learning models to explore the different methods in which atoms between adjacent crystals in a piezoelectric material, which are materials that generate a small electrical voltage upon application of mechanical stress, can experience mismatches.

How To Redesign Your Love Nest For Renewed Romance, According To A Psychologist - Your bedroom is not just a space for rest.

One-step synthesis of Janus hydrogel - Janus adhesive hydrogels hold promising applications across health care fields.

Keeping track of polar bears through DNA footprints - Counting polar bears and snow leopards isn’t easy, but it’s critical if we are to monitor their survival, so a new approach – to extract DNA from their footprints – might help.

What if soil could tell us trees are stressed before the trees can? - At Nardoo Hills, a team of conservationists are trying a new generation of technology to listen out for tree health.

Downsizing DNA - Some species remove up to 90 percent of their genomes during development, but why or how this happens is still a mystery.

Infographic: Phage Display Allows Rapid Screening of Millions of Peptides - A viral protein expression method links proteins and their coding instructions, enabling easier target identification for downstream analysis.

A Story of FIRE and Mice - Studying how microglia control myelin growth and prevent its degeneration helps scientists better understand and address neurodegenerative diseases.

The Cre-loxP System: A Powerful Tool in the Genetic Toolbox - Standing at the cornerstone of genetic research, Cre-loxP recombination serves as molecular scissors for precisely manipulating the genome.

Infographic: Mitochondria, the Cellular Processors - Following decades of being called “the powerhouse of the cell,” researchers recently proposed a new description that reflects the multifaceted roles of mitochondria.

When Scientists Collaborate, Science Progresses - p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 13.0px; font: 10.0px Gotham} span.s1 {letter-spacing: 0.1px}Behind every successful scientist, there is another scientist.

Infographic: Gene Activity in the Cellular Afterlife - Low oxygen resuscitates gene transcription after death.

Infographic: Recombinase Polymerase Amplification in Action - A rapid isothermal amplification technique enables pathogen identification and antibiotic resistance detection in low-resource settings.

Infographic: The Cre-lox System Explained - The Cre-lox recombination method orchestrates remarkable genetic manipulations that remain a gold standard for transgenic mice.

Whenever, Wherever: Taking DNA Amplification Outside the Lab - Recombinase polymerase amplification lets researchers rapidly replicate DNA in the clinic, in the field, or even in the International Space Station.

December 2023 Interactive Crossword Puzzle - Try your hand at a sciency brainteaser.

Serendipity, Happenstance, and Luck: The Making of a Molecular Tool - The common fluorescent marker GFP traveled a long road to take its popular place in molecular biology today.

Cells and Organelles - Put on your thinking cap, and take on this fun challenge.

Infographic: Programmed DNA Elimination - Removing parts of the genome is a key step in some species’ development.

A Microbial Link to Parkinson’s Diseasep.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 13.0px; font: 10.0px Gotham} span.s1 {letter-spacing: -0.2px} - Haydeh Payami helped uncover the genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease.

Phage Display: Finding the One in a Million - A combinatorial approach enabled high-throughput screening of protein libraries for desired target binding.

Tracking Down Innate Immune Cells in Multiple Sclerosis - A novel PET tracer targeting a receptor in myeloid cells can help monitor disease progression in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

Infographic: Microglia Influence Myelin Health - In FIRE mice, the lack of microglia causes myelin overgrowth and eventual degeneration, indicating that microglia may contribute to age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

The Ephemeral Life of the Placenta - Recent advances in modeling the human placenta, the least understood organ, may inform placental disorders like preeclampsia.

Rebranding Mitochondria - As scientists realize the multifaceted role of mitochondria, some feel that the “powerhouse of the cell” analogy is out of date.

Making Standards Exceptional - p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 13.0px; font: 10.0px Gotham} span.s1 {letter-spacing: -0.2px}Samantha Maragh has taken on the difficult challenge of standardizing assays, data norms, and terminology in the ever evolving genome editing field.

Pigeon Predictors & Turtle Backpacks: How Tracking Wildlife Can Aid Climate Change Research - Wildlife tracking can provide humans with critical information to predict our weather and climate patterns.

Aust designed satellite thrusters pass first space tests - The Albanese government may have put the brakes on Australia’s satellite program, but two tiny pieces of innovative satellite technology are gently pushing back.

Does Betelgeuse Even Rotate? Maybe Not - Betelgeuse is the well known red giant star in the corner of Orion the hunter.

Record number of girls on Borders College farming course - A record number of female students have started an agriculture course at Borders College.

How weather apps are trying to be more accurate - Forecasters are continuing to offer more real-time updates and personalised recommendations.

December 3, 2023

Researchers identify amino acid that may play a key role for predicting and treating long COVID - University of Alberta researchers have identified an amino acid that may play a key role in predicting poor clinical outcomes and the treatment of long COVID.

Common chemotherapy drugs don’t work like doctors thought, with big implications for drug discovery. - A new study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison suggests that chemotherapy may not be reaching its full potential, in part because researchers and doctors have long misunderstood how some of the most common cancer drugs actually ward off tumors.

Number of dementia cases could be 42% higher than previously estimated by 2040 - Up to 1.7 million people could be living with dementia in England and Wales by 2040 – over 40% more than previously forecast – finds a new UCL-led study.

Abuse and falsehoods erode the public square of science - As the world faces existential problems such as pandemics and climate change, Australian scientists are facing a dilemma about the best way to connect with the wider public.

See A Crescent Moon Cradle Venus And Shoot A Star-Trail: The Night Sky This Week - Each Monday, I pick out the northern hemisphere's celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead.

Cosmonauts dock Russian Progress cargo ship to ISS on remote control after autopilot glitch - Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station took manual control of an incoming Progress 86 cargo ship on Sunday, Dec. 3, due to an autopilot issue.

Strange yellow glass found in Libyan desert may have formed from lost meteor impact - A strange type of glass that was discovered in 1933 in the Libyan desert may come from a meteorite, an analysis shows, but impact crater is still missing.

2 Key Tips To Own The ‘Childless By Choice’ Trend, By A Psychologist - More married couples than ever are opting to go childless.

A 'runaway star' could save Earth from extinction a billion years from now. Here's how. - Earth will become too hot to handle in a billion years.

You might have missed: tiny biological robots; dogs are picky eaters; fungus species named after Dune, and an intriguing video - You might have missed: New species of fungus named after Dune’s giant worms; tiny robots from human cells; harmonious orbits of 6 planets and more!

China's Landspace gears up for 3rd launch of its methane-powered rocket - The Zhuque-2 was the first methane-fueled rocket to reach Earth orbit, and the Chinese private spaceflight company Landspace is set to launch it again later on Dec. 5.

Doctors Break the Interspecies Barrier to Save Lives - Transplanting animal hearts and kidneys into humans could end the dire shortage of donor organs.

COP28: Google Teams With Artist For Vivid Interactive Dive Into Freshwater Crisis - Yiyun Kang's interactive project sounds the alarm on climate the role of climate change in depleting our supply of freshwater and invites viewers to engage with possible solutions.

From Earth orbit to the moon: Europe's I-Hab continues Spacelab 40-year legacy - A legacy of European-built and operated space modules, which began in Earth orbit and is now heading for the moon, got its start with Spacelab 40 years ago.

1st launch of Europe's Ariane 6 rocket finally has June 2024 launch target - After a 4-year delay, the new heavy-lift rocket for Europe is almost ready for space.

Science news this week: Atmospheric holes and smarter glasses - Dec. 3, 2023: Our weekly roundup of the latest science in the news, as well as a few fascinating articles to keep you entertained.

US Space Force delays launch of secretive space plane to Dec. 10 - The U.S. military's elusive X-37B space plane has postponed its next launch by three days.

FDA Adds Warning To Ozempic Label About Ileus, Intestinal Blockage - Here are some gut feelings to watch out for when taking Ozempic or other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

Millennials are driving declining mental health status - Millennials are driving the deterioration of Australia's mental health, according to a study in PNAS which tracked our mental health over 20 years.

Extreme Solar Storms May Be More Frequent Than Previously Thought - A geomagnetic storm that hit Earth in 1872 shows that events powerful enough to directly impact our infrastructure are more common than previously thought.

Space photo of the week: China's 'heavenly palace' space station looms in 1st complete image - Chinese astronauts recently captured the first clear shot of the completed Tiangong space station as they were leaving the orbiting habitat to return to Earth.

Largest ‘Long Vax’ Study To Date On Post-Covid-19 Vaccination Syndrome - Of the 241 online survey respondents who reported suffering from post-Covid-19 vaccination syndrome (PVS), half indicated 22 or more different "Long Vax" symptoms.

How long will Earth exist? - Humans will likely die long before our planet does.

Aurora Seen Across The World In The Strongest Displays For 20 Years - The aurora—also known as the northern and southern lights—was been seen across the world after three coronal mass ejections occurred on the sun last week.

A step closer to treatments to prevent autoimmune skin disorders - Immunologists have discovered new ways to remove the immune cells that contribute to autoimmune diseases in the skin.

Are extreme temperatures threatening live music events? - The death of a fan at a Taylor Swift concert in Rio during throws up challenges for tour promoters.

Venus had Earth-like plate tectonics billions of years ago, study suggests - Venus, a scorching wasteland of a planet according to scientists, may have once had tectonic plate movements similar to those believed to have occurred on early Earth, a new study found.

How scientists are fighting climate-fuelled disease - As leaders gather in Dubai for the UN climate summit, experts say global warming is having a ‘profound effect' on health.

December 2, 2023

Marine protected areas and climate change. - An international team has developed the first comprehensive framework for designing networks of marine protected areas that can help vulnerable species survive as climate change drives habitat loss.

Gut fungi’s lasting impact on severe COVID-19 immune response - Certain gut-dwelling fungi flourish in severe cases of COVID-19, amplifying the excessive inflammation that drives this disease while also causing long-lasting changes in the immune system, according to a new study led by investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.

Eris Could be Slushier Than Pluto - In 2005, astronomer Mike Brown and his colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz announced the discovery of a previously unknown planetoid in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune’s orbit.

Smartphone data shows which neighborhoods police spend most time patrolling - Using anonymized smartphone data from nearly 10,000 police officers in 21 large U.S. cities, research from Indiana University finds officers on patrol spend more time in non-white neighborhoods.

Innovative recyclables replace dangerous silica benchtops - As Australia realises the dangers of working with engineered stone to manufacture benchtops and tiles, one company is bucking the trend to make high-end products largely from recyclables.

Life On Earth May Have Its Roots In Deep Space, Suggests New Research - The ingredients for life may have formed in interstellar space alongside stars or planets, according to new research by chemists.

Mysterious Meteor Shower Could Light Up Skies Tonight In Rare Outburst - A very rare meteor shower could light up night skies Saturday night into Sunday morning, with up to 200 shooting stars per hour according to some predictions.

The History of Human-Made Ice - In the face of an epidemic, on small-town doctor invented artificial ice years before the world was ready to embrace it.

Major pathologic response to neoadjuvant pembrolizumab in advanced melanoma trial exceeds 50 percent - In exploratory analyses of results from the SWOG S1801 trial in patients with stage III-IV resectable melanoma, researchers saw a major pathologic response in more than half of surgical specimens taken from patients who had been treated with neoadjuvant (pre-operative) pembrolizumab.

2 Practical Tips To Breathe Life Into A Relationship On Life Support - Relationships are hard, but they don’t have to feel like hard work.

Primordial Helium May Be Leaking from Earth's Core - Helium gas may be seeping from Earth’s core, say scientists who found extremely high helium isotope ratios in lavas on Baffin Island

Watch ancient, giant millipede the size of a car brought back to life in remarkable reconstruction - The massive, extinct millipede Arthropleura has been brought back to life in a stunning reconstruction for the Netflix series "Life on Our Planet."

Hundreds of unknown microbial genomes tell story of life deep underground - And old goldmine in South Dakota is teeming with life deep underground – not goldminers, but microbes.

Why Did Our Nomadic Ancestors Settle Down? They Wanted To Own Stuff - What caused nomadic people to settle down?

New algorithm finds lots of gene-editing enzymes in environmental DNA - Some are related to DNA-cutting enzymes.

The Surprising Link Between Malaria And River Color - Suspended sediments are key to this relationship between river color and malaria, as shown by black-water and white-water rivers in the Brazilian Amazon.

Even with tight regulations, pesticides are still damaging bee colonies - European researchers are ringing the alarm about human and farming activities damaging bee populations.

Roar of cicadas was so loud, it was picked up by fiber-optic cables - Brood X made itself known in a way that could change how we monitor insect populations.

Current Climate: ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Unit Is Looking For Respect - This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability.

See The World’s Largest Iceberg Make A Great Escape From Antarctica - The veteran iceberg had been quietly minding its own business since it first broke off from an Antarctic ice shelf in 1986, but now it's footloose and fancy-free.

Battery swap can make Asia’s motorbike fleet sustainable - Battery swapping could solve a lot of the world’s problems..think smart technology, torchlights, phones, cars, motorbikes.

Climate change: The young activists changing the sceptics' minds - Engaging with climate sceptics can be a challenge - but some people are trying to change their minds.

Host country of COP28, UAE, to ramp up oil production, BBC learns - The state oil company Adnoc is set to be the world's second biggest producer, analysis shows.

Megamouth Shark And Her Babies Found Dead In The Philippines - A megamouth shark met a tragic end on its journey to give birth.

December 1, 2023

The Cognitive Battles Of Survivor’s Guilt, Explained By A Psychologist - Here’s how to navigate your journey from struggle to strength with three critical insights from psychology.

How Misinformation Spreads Through War - Three experts break down how misinformation and propaganda spread through conflict, and how to debunk it yourself.

A Psychologist Unravels The Enigma Of ‘Déjà Vu’ - Research shows that déjà vu is more than just an eerie sense of familiarity, and eludes a singular explanation.

Quolls fly in to save the species - Cosmos Country reporters trace adventures of Cuddlepie the quoll and 10 endangered animals on the trip of a lifetime to save the species

After Stalling Out for 40 Years, the Largest Iceberg in the World is on the Move - In 1986, a gigantic iceberg separated from the Fichner-Ronne ice shelf in West Antarctica.

NASA Welcomes Angola as Newest Artemis Accords Signatory - During a ceremony in Washington Nov. 30, Angola became the 33rd country to sign the Artemis Accords.

The Universe in a lab: Testing alternate cosmology using a cloud of atoms - We can't experiment with the Universe, but we can make something that works like it.

Inside the Satellite Tech Revealing Gaza's Destruction - Amid restrictions on optical satellite images, researchers have developed a radar technique to gauge building damage in Gaza

Government silent as marine heatwave threatens biggest reef - Great Southern Reef scientists say they are “concerned and alarmed” at the Government’s lukewarm  response to a request for urgent funding to set up monitoring before a forecast marine heatwave.

Robots Made from Human Cells Can Move on Their Own and Heal Wounds - Researchers have created “anthrobots” out of human lung cells that are capable of moving independently and even healing damaged tissue

Efforts to Slow Climate Change Could Inadvertently Create Humanitarian Crises - In promoting renewable energy, wealthier nations could worsen health, housing and labor problems in the developing nations where materials are sourced

Erickson to Retire after Over 40 Years of Service - December 1, 2023 It is my pleasure to share information about new hires within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) on this blog, and it is also my bittersweet duty to share information about retirements.

Neptune-sized exoplanet is too big for its host star - Stars this small shouldn't make planets this big.

Human behavior guided by fast changes in dopamine levels - A new study shows that dopamine release in the human brain plays a crucial role in encoding both reward and punishment prediction errors.

A New Way to Trigger a Tsunami - How historic records and new data uncovered the colossal underwater avalanche that unleashed a massive wave in 1650.

Your Guide to the COP28 Climate Meeting in Dubai - The COP28 climate summit in Dubai has begun.

Rise in English bathing sites rated unfit to swim - Fewer swimming spots are rated "excellent" and more rated "poor" by the environment watchdog.

NASA Honors Steve Jurczyk, Former Acting Administrator, Space Leader - Former NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk passed away Nov. 23, at the age of 61, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Hubble Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 1 - In the pre-dawn hours on Dec. 2, 1993, the space shuttle Endeavour launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a critical mission to repair NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

5 Ways Life on Earth Would Be Different If We Had Two Moons - What would life be like on Earth with two moons instead of one?

Severe outbreak tied to cantaloupe sickens 117 in 34 states; half hospitalized - Back away from your cantaloupe if you don't know the brand, the CDC warns.

Top 10 Snow Animals and How They Survive the Cold - Would you have what it takes to thrive in the cold?

Counteracting Bone and Muscle Loss in Microgravity - In microgravity, without the continuous load of Earth’s gravity, the tissues that make up bones reshape themselves.

2000-year-old Roman engineering could solve colossal climate problem - As the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome.

California Nutritionist: Twins Experiment Shows Vegan Diets Are Healthier. Science Disagrees - A California nutritionist who routinely extols supplements, fad diets, and alternatives to medicine is prominently covered by corporate media for claiming food diaries using twins shows that vegan diets are healthier.Yet it is so full of confounders that even IARC epidemiologists would have to ask awkward questions about his conclusion using that m

These Male Stick Insects Aren't 'Errors' After All - Some female stick insects can reproduce without males—but they have a secret

Stephen Hawking's Time Travel Party – Did it Happen? How Would We Know? - If you want to attend Stephen Hawking's time travel party, you better figure out how time travel works for a journey back to 2009.

Zapping Plastic Waste Can Produce Clean Fuel - Can waste plastic can be converted into hydrogen gas and a type of graphene—at a profit?

The Oldest Deep-Sea Fish Discovered in Fossil Traces - Ancient fish followed prey into the crushing pressures of the deep ocean

This Molecule Is a Nanoscale Bulldozer - Researchers discovered that a heart-shaped molecule will jump in straight lines when given an electric jolt

Scientists Sequence DNA from a 3,000-Year-Old Brick - A chunk of a Mesopotamian palace revealed genes from dozens of ancient plants

Long COVID Rates Appear to Be Decreasing - Here’s why Long COVID may be declining and what we know about the trend so far

How Forest Mythology Leads to Preservation--And Plunder - The powerful symbolism of forests, an AI that struggles to optimize the life of a “post-body” person, and more books out now

December 2023: Science History from 50, 100 and 150 Years Ago - Black hole sun; the deepest mine

Understanding Consciousness Is Key to Unlocking Secrets of the Universe - The quest to understand our physical universe may depend on investigating our own mind

Readers Respond to the July/August 2023 Issue - Letters to the editors for the July/August 2023 issue of Scientific American

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much? - Caffeine can help you feel energized.

Mars Can Wait. Questions Surround Settlements on Other Worlds - Establishing a permanent Mars settlement in the foreseeable future makes little sense.

Autoimmunity Has Reached Epidemic Levels. We Need Urgent Action to Address It - Environment and lifestyle changes have increased the prevalence of autoimmune diseases.

'Bone biographies' reveal lives of medieval England's common people -- and illuminate early benefits system - Researchers give medieval Cambridge residents the 'Richard III treatment' to reveal hard-knock lives of those in the city during its famous university's early years.

One of the largest magnetic storms in history quantified: Aurorae covered much of the night sky from the Tropics to the Polar Regions - An international multidisciplinary team consisting of solar physicists, geophysicists, and historians from nine countries analysed observations of an extreme solar-terrestrial storm reported in historical records from February 1872.

Meteorites likely source of nitrogen for early Earth - Micrometeorites originating from icy celestial bodies in the outer Solar System may be responsible for transporting nitrogen to the near-Earth region in the early days of our solar system.