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'Our biggest challenge? Lack of imagination': the scientists turning the desert green
In China, scientists have turned vast swathes of arid land into a lush oasis. Now a team of maverick engineers want to do the same to the Sinai Flying into Egypt in early February to make the most important presentation of his life, Ties van der Hoeven prepared by listening to the podcast 13 Minutes To The Moon – the story of how Nasa accomplished the lunar landings. The mission he was discussing
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Young Female Twitter Star Turns Out to Be 50-Year-Old Man Using Deepfakes
Take Them For A Ride You might want to double check that influencer you just followed on Twitter — they might actually be a deepfaked persona. Or at least that was the case with Twitter user @azusagakuyuki , who tricked followers into thinking they were a young female motorbike enthusiast but actually turned out to be a 50-year-old Japanese man named Zonggu using deepfake technology , according t
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Cern experiment hints at new force of nature
Experts reveal 'cautious excitement' over unstable particles that fail to decay as standard model suggests Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva have spotted an unusual signal in their data that may be the first hint of a new kind of physics. The LHCb collaboration, one of four main teams at the LHC, analysed 10 years of data on how unstable particles called B mesons, created moment
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Bill Gates Attempts to Explain Why He Bought More Farmland Than Anyone Else in America
You might remember an intriguing story from earlier this year, when an investigative journalist discovered that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had been quietly buying up so much farmland that he now appears to own more of it than anybody else in America. The story — that the guy behind MS-DOS and Internet Explorer was going all in on agriculture — raised eyebrows in the media , but we never got
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New study shows microplastics turn into 'hubs' for pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria
It's estimated that an average-sized wastewater treatment plant serving roughly 400,000 residents will discharge up to 2,000,000 microplastic particles into the environment each day. Yet, researchers are still learning the environmental and human health impact of these ultra-fine plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters in length, found in everything from cosmetics, toothpaste and clothing micro
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Bernie Sanders Slams Elon Musk for "Unsustainable" Greed
Progressive Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suplexed tech billionaire Elon Musk in a Sunday tweet , excoriating the SpaceX CEO for pouring money into interplanetary space travel ambitions while inequality persists here on Earth. "Space travel is an exciting idea, but right now we need to focus on Earth and create a progressive tax system so that children don't go hungry, people are not homeless an
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COVID Vaccine Developer: Cancer Shots Are Next
Özlem Türeci, the scientist who cofounded the company BioNTech — of " Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine " fame — says that we might have working vaccines for cancer within the next few years. Developing a vaccine that prevents cancer was actually Türeci's original goal for BioNTech, she told the Associated Press . But now, after the company's resounding success and the influx of funding stemmin
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Explosive origins of 'secondary' ice—and snow
Where does snow come from? This may seem like a simple question to ponder as half the planet emerges from a season of watching whimsical flakes fall from the sky—and shoveling them from driveways. But a new study on how water becomes ice in slightly supercooled Arctic clouds may make you rethink the simplicity of the fluffy stuff. The study, published by scientists from the U.S. Department of Ener
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Scientists observe complex tunable magnetism tied to electrical conduction in a topological material
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have observed novel helical magnetic ordering in the topological compound EuIn2As2 which supports exotic electrical conduction tunable by a magnetic field. The discovery has significant implications for basic research into functional topological properties and may one day find use in a number of advanced technology applications.
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Scientists Find New Patterns In Mysterious Radio Pulses From Distant Galaxies
Microsecond Burst The strange signals known as "fast radio bursts" (FRBs) have long mystified the astronomy community. The sudden, strong radio pulses, often emanating from distant galaxies, appear at regularly timed intervals, from every few of milliseconds to weeks — and we still aren't entirely sure what they are or why they exist. Now, a new team of astronomers has taken an even closer look.
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Large asteroid to (safely) zip past Earth
The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year will swing closest on Sunday, giving astronomers a rare chance for a good look at a space rock that formed at the dawn of our solar system.
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Arctic methane release due to melting ice is likely to happen again
Beneath the cold, dark depths of the Arctic ocean sit vast reserves of methane. These stores rest in a delicate balance, stable as a solid called methane hydrates, at very specific pressures and temperatures. If that balance gets tipped, the methane can get released into the water above and eventually make its way to the atmosphere. In its gaseous form, methane is one of the most potent greenhouse
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AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine completely prevents severe illness and death
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine could be in the US soon. (AstraZeneca/) Click here to see all of PopSci's COVID-19 coverage. A fourth drug manufacturer, AstraZeneca, has announced positive results in Phase III COVID vaccine trials in the United States. The vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, and with some funding from Operation Warp Speed, is in widespread use outside the US
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Mural shows earliest known record of salt being sold at a marketplace in the Maya region
The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. In the mural that portrays daily life, a salt vendor shows what appears to be a salt cake wrapped in leaves to another person, who holds a large spoon over a basket, presumably of loo
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The process sea slugs use to regrow severed body parts is surprisingly common
Kleptoplasty, the ability to steal another organism's photosynthetic powers, in animals is thought to be extremely rare in animals. Its this skill that allows the slug pictured above to survive and regrow its body after being decapitated. (Sayaka Mitoh/) Some sea slugs can live without their bodies. Cut their heads off, and the noggins can still survive for months, scientists recently discovered
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Talking to horses as we talk to young children
Many people instinctively use baby-talk when talking to their pets, often characterized by a high-pitched voice and exaggerated intonations. The same is true for many riders with their horses. But are horses sensitive to this type of speech? Ethologists from INRAE and IFCE (French Horse and Riding Institute) have decided to find out. Their results, published on 18th March in Animal Cognition, show
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No threat to Earth as huge asteroid zooms past
The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year has made its closest approach, posing no threat of a cataclysmic collision but giving astronomers a rare chance to study a rock formed during the beginning of our solar system.
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Multiple migrations to the Philippines during the last 50,000 years [Anthropology]
Island Southeast Asia has recently produced several surprises regarding human history, but the region's complex demography remains poorly understood. Here, we report ∼2.3 million genotypes from 1,028 individuals representing 115 indigenous Philippine populations and genome-sequence data from two ∼8,000-y-old individuals from Liangdao in the Taiwan Strait. We show that the…
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Scientists Created an Artificial Early Embryo From Human Skin Cells
We all know how human reproduction works: sperm meets egg, fertilized egg kicks off its journey, transforms into a human embryo, then becomes a fetus and ultimately a baby. But what if boy meets girl isn't the only way? Last week, two studies in Nature torpedoed the classic narrative of the beginning of life. Two independent teams coaxed ordinary skin cells into a living cluster that resembled a
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Removing Space Debris
Right now there are about 3,000 active satellites in Earth orbit. About 1,000 of those satellites are part of the Starlink project to provide internet access everywhere on the planet, with a planned 42,000 total when complete. that is a massive increase in the number of active satellites. At the same time there another 3,000 defunct satellites that are no longer operational but remain in orbit. T
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Big breakthrough for 'massless' energy storage
Researchers have produced a structural battery that performs ten times better than all previous versions. It contains carbon fiber that serves simultaneously as an electrode, conductor, and load-bearing material. Their latest research breakthrough paves the way for essentially 'massless' energy storage in vehicles and other technology.
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Does 'harsh parenting' lead to smaller brains?
A study shows that harsh parenting practices in childhood have long-term repercussions for children's brain development. Repeatedly getting angry, hitting, shaking or yelling at children is linked with smaller brain structures in adolescence, according to a new study
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The evolution of pelvic limb muscle moment arms in bird-line archosaurs
Bipedal locomotion evolved along the archosaurian lineage to birds, shifting from "hip-based" to "knee-based" mechanisms. However, the roles of individual muscles in these changes and their evolutionary timings remain obscure. Using 13 three-dimensional musculoskeletal models of the hindlimbs of bird-line archosaurs, we quantify how the moment arms (i.e., leverages) of 35 locomotor muscles evolve
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Hemmajobbare sover längre men är lika produktiva
Människor som jobbar hemma sover mer, enligt en studie från Högskolan i Gävle. – Ja, de sover längre, producerar lika mycket och rör sig lika mycket som när de jobbar på kontoret, säger David Hallman, docent i arbetshälsovetenskap. I en undersökning har forskarna, i samarbete med Gävle kommun, under pandemin kunnat jämföra samma person hemma och på jobbet. Testpersonerna har burit rörelsemätare i
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Experimental competition induces immediate and lasting effects on the neurogenome in free-living female birds [Evolution]
Periods of social instability can elicit adaptive phenotypic plasticity to promote success in future competition. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms have primarily been studied in captive and laboratory-reared animals, leaving uncertainty as to how natural competition among free-living animals affects gene activity. Here, we experimentally generated social competition among wild,…
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Supercell tornadoes are much stronger and wider than damage-based ratings indicate [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]
Tornadoes cause damage, injury, and death when intense winds impact structures. Quantifying the strength and extent of such winds is critical to characterizing tornado hazards. Ratings of intensity and size are based nearly entirely on postevent damage surveys [R. Edwards et al., Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 94, 641–653 (2013)]. It…
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Isotopic evidence for the formation of the Moon in a canonical giant impact
Nature Communications, Published online: 22 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41467-021-22155-7 Here, the authors show that Earth and Moon are characterized by different vanadium isotope compositions, which is most likely resulting from vanadium isotope fractionation of the bulk silicate proto-Earth during the main stage of terrestrial core formation—followed by a canonical giant impact scenario, where 80
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Overdispersion in COVID-19 increases the effectiveness of limiting nonrepetitive contacts for transmission control [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
Increasing evidence indicates that superspreading plays a dominant role in COVID-19 transmission. Recent estimates suggest that the dispersion parameter k for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is on the order of 0.1, which corresponds to about 10% of cases being the source of 80% of infections. To investigate…
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Canadian Conservative party votes not to recognize climate crisis as real
Delegates vote 54%-46% against policy change request Leader O'Toole has sought ambitious climate change agenda Canada's main opposition Conservative party members have voted down a proposal to recognize the climate crisis as real, in a blow to their new leader's efforts to embrace environmentally friendly policies before a likely federal election this year. Related: 'Climate facts are back': EPA
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Specialist Covid infection control scientist faces threat of deportation from UK
Charles Oti should be in his NHS job fighting the virus. Instead, the Home Office wants to send him to Nigeria An infection control specialist who has been offered a job as a senior NHS biomedical scientist to help tackle the pandemic is facing deportation by the Home Office, prompting fresh calls for a more "humane" approach to skilled migrants. The government has refused Charles Oti, 46, from N
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New Effort To Clean Up Space Junk Reaches Orbit
Known as ELSA-d, the mission will exhibit technology that could help capture space junk, some of the millions of pieces of orbital debris that float above Earth. (Image credit: Astroscale)
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UK to test existing drugs as treatment for MS in world-first trial
Researchers will test several drugs at once to speed up identification of those that slow or reverse symptoms Doctors in the UK are to launch a world-first clinical trial to assess whether drugs already on the market can prevent multiple sclerosis (MS) from worsening over time and even reverse the disabilities it causes. The groundbreaking Octopus trial, so named because of its various arms, will
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Why McConnell Gets Away With Filibustering
The filibuster is in trouble. President Joe Biden has come out in favor of reforming it , and Democrats in the Senate are weighing alternatives. But the strongest sign that its days are numbered is that the Republican leader Mitch McConnell is threatening Armageddon if the other party touches it. No one presently—or perhaps ever—in the Senate has practiced the dark art of obstruction as relentles
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The Republican Party's Irrational War on Voting Rights
In February, Arizona state senators tried to have the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors thrown in jail. The legislators had demanded that the county officials hand over documents relating to the 2020 presidential election in the state, which Democrat Joe Biden won by fewer than 11,000 votes. Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, had already audited its results and found no evidence of fraud. The b
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European Scientists Zero In On AstraZeneca Blood Clot Link
A rare blood clotting condition has occurred in some people after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. If the new research is correct, it could mean that blood clots could be easily treated. (Image credit: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Tardigrades: nature's great survivors
The microscopic animals can withstand extreme conditions that would kill humans, and may one day help in the development of Covid vaccines. How do they do it? On 11 April 2019, a spacecraft crashed on to the Moon. The Israeli Beresheet probe was supposed to land gently in the Mare Serenitatis, a huge plain of basalt rock formed in a volcanic eruption billions of years ago. It would have been the
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America Has Forgotten How to Forgive
Yesterday afternoon, Condé Nast, the publisher of Teen Vogue , announced that Alexi McCammond, a 27-year-old former reporter for Axios , would not be taking over as editor of the magazine after all. She had been done in by her own social-media posts , little time bombs she'd unwittingly armed when she tweeted them at age 17. Those posts groaned about her "stupid asian T.A." and mocked Asians' "sw
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Dexamethasone hailed as lifesaver for up to a million Covid patients worldwide
Results of Recovery drug trial also credited with successful treatment of 22,000 people in the UK, says NHS England Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Dexamethasone – the inexpensive steroid that quickly emerged as a highly effective Covid therapy thanks to a large drug testing programme pioneered by UK scientists – has so far saved the lives of an estimated million peo
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Glimpses of Sudan's Forgotten Pyramids
Desecrated by plunderers, threatened by floodwaters and largely overshadowed by their Egyptian counterparts, Sudan's ancient archaeological sites may finally be poised to receive broader recognition.
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Covid: AstraZeneca vaccine 79% effective with no increased blood clot risk – US trial
Study of over 32,000 people included review of risks of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in a large trial in the US, Chile and Peru, the company said on Monday, paving the way for it to apply for US approval. The vacc
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Covid: why has the fall in UK infection rate stalled despite vaccinations?
Hospital admissions and deaths are declining as priority groups vaccinated but number of new diagnoses has stabilised Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK's Covid-19 statistics remain encouraging despite continuing rows over vaccine deliveries in Europe. Admissions to hospital and daily deaths from the disease continue to decline with numbers in the latter category
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The Real Reason Republicans Couldn't Kill Obamacare
Adapted from The Ten Year War: Obamacare and the Unfinished Crusade for Universal Coverage , St. Martin's Press 2021. T he Affordable Care Act , the health-care law also known as Obamacare, turns 11 years old this week. Somehow, the program has not merely survived the GOP's decade-long assault. It's actually getting stronger, thanks to some major upgrades tucked in the COVID-19 relief package tha
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'What appointments did these dogs have to keep?': long lunches and brief liaisons in a radical new dogumentary
To mark National Puppy Day, Elizabeth Lo's acclaimed film Stray gives humans rare insight into the canine gaze, courtesy of homeless mutts in Istanbul From the moment Zeytin makes her first appearance in Elizabeth Lo 's feature Stray, there is no doubt you are in the presence of a unique spirit. As she surveys an Istanbul side street at dawn, her features are alert, her gaze is uncompromising and
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The innovations we need to avoid a climate disaster | Bill Gates
The single most important thing for avoiding a climate disaster is cutting carbon pollution from the current 51 billion tons per year to zero, says philanthropist and technologist Bill Gates. Introducing the concept of the "green premium" — the higher price of zero-emission products like electric cars, artificial meat or sustainable aviation fuel — Gates identifies the breakthroughs and investme
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The Maker of M&Ms Built a Robot to Chase You Around the Store With Candy
Sweets Cyborg As if avoiding impulse purchases at the grocery store wasn't hard enough, the company behind M&Ms has created an autonomous robot that follows you around as you shop for groceries to tempt you with candy. The Mars Inc. candy company developed the robot — nicknamed "Smiley" — to follow shoppers around and offer them snacks long before they reach the checkout line, according to Gizmod
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Vets warn of new Covid variant's possible link to heart problems in pets
Specialist hospital stresses: 'We have strong suspicion of transmission from human to pet, not vice versa' Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vets are warning of a possible link between a new variant of coronavirus and heart problems in cats and dogs after a increase in pets presenting with myocarditis at a specialist veterinary hospital in Buckinghamshire during the pa
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Climate fight 'is undermined by social media's toxic reports'
Scientists warn that Nobel summit and long-term decisions to save the planet are at risk from targeted attacks online Fake news on social media about climate change and biodiversity loss is having a worrying impact in the battle to halt the growing environmental threats to the planet, a group of scientists and analysts have warned. In a report published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, th
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China's Military Just Banned Teslas, Citing Security Concerns
Tesla Ban China has barred all Tesla vehicles from its military complexes and housing compounds in light of privacy concerns, Bloomberg reports . The military order instructs Chinese Tesla drivers to park their vehicles outside of military property, according to Bloomberg 's sources. Officials are reportedly concerned over the cars' many cameras and the data they may be able to collect, running t
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The SLS Is Probably the Last Rocket NASA Will Ever Build
Last Rocket It took almost a decade and tens of billions of dollars to get to this point. NASA's Space Launch System completed a major milestone this week. The massive rocket, standing taller than the Statue of Liberty, completed its second successful hot-fire test this week. The rocket roared to life, blowing a gigantic white cloud into the forest nearby the agency's Stennis Space Center in Miss
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America Is Now in the Hands of the Vaccine-Hesitant
It's official: America's vaccine-supply crunch is over. The U.S. has ordered, optioned, or procured enough doses to immunize every single member of the population more than five times over , and all adults will be eligible for the shots by May 1. In other words, after months of careful rationing and distribution snafus , we've finally hit a new phase of the pandemic endgame: vaccines galore. Next
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Vesuvius killed people of Pompeii in 15 minutes, study suggests
Cloud of ash and gas engulfed Roman city within minutes and suffocated inhabitants, research says A giant cloud of ash and gases released by Vesuvius in 79 AD took about 15 minutes to kill the inhabitants of Pompeii, research suggests. The estimated 2,000 people who died in the ancient Roman city when they could not escape were not overwhelmed by the lava, but rather asphyxiated by the gases and
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The US is about to reach a surprise milestone: too many vaccines, not enough takers
The US has administered more than 118 million doses of covid-19 vaccines so far, and millions more are being injected every day. So far, demand from people who are desperate to get vaccinated has outstripped supply of the drugs, and when vaccine appointments are released, they're quickly scooped up. But jurisdictions across the country may soon face the opposite problem. As production ramps up, t
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Photos of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall Volcano
After several weeks of earthquakes, an eruption began about 25 miles from Reykjavik, Iceland, as Fagradalsfjall volcano began spewing lava into a small valley on March 19. Collected below, some early images from the event.
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Millennials Are Aging Really Badly, Experts Say
They may be the harbingers of doom for countless industries , but it seems like millennials aren't doing too hot themselves. At least, that's according to a team of Ohio State University sociologists who uncovered a disturbing trend: Generations X and Y — that second group are generally known as millennials — are aging really poorly. According to their research , which was published Thursday in t
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Watch This Awesome Video of Clouds Drifting Across the Martian Sky
Martian Storm A stunning video that went viral over the weekend shows a fierce, dark cloud passing over a rocky landscape. But this isn't Arizona — it's the desolate surface of Mars. Clouds in the sky, gently passing overhead. On Mars, Friday, March 19, 2021. pic.twitter.com/jJpemPefIV — Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) March 20, 2021 The eight images were taken by NASA's Curiosity rover on Ma
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The Dehumanizing Logic of All the 'Happy Ending' Jokes
Almost a week has passed since the shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area, which resulted in the death of eight people, six of them Asian or Asian American women. The Atlanta police have yet to say that the incidents were motivated by racism, seemingly in part because the shooting suspect told them that he suffers from a "sex addiction." FBI Director Chris Wray has said that, acco
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How the U.S. Tax Code Privileges White Families
Soon after I got my master's degree in tax law from NYU in 1984, I started preparing my parents' tax returns. They filed jointly, and what always stuck out to me was how comparable their incomes were. My mother worked as a nurse at an assisted-living facility, and my father was a plumber with the New York City Housing Authority. Some years, my father's overtime would put him on top by a few hundr
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Biden Just Showed Us What He Really Values
In September, one political observer cast a gimlet eye on then-candidate Joe Biden's theory about contemporary politics: He believes that once Trump is gone, Republicans on Capitol Hill will return to the low-key, courteous mien that Biden remembers (or thinks he remembers) from his long career in the Senate. Rather than relentlessly attacking these Republicans, Biden has chosen to reach out to t
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We Must Confront Anti–Asian American Hate Crimes
The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but Americans of Asian descent have had to deal with an additional crisis that accompanied the arrival of COVID-19: an alarming increase of hate, vitriol, and harassment directed at them simply because of their ethnic backgrounds or national origin. This disturbing reality has only recently spilled out into public view, but it's nothing new for Ame
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The Curious Case of Florida's Pandemic Response
I started reporting this essay with a clear thesis: Florida is having a moment. To the extent that winning a pandemic is possible, Florida seemed to be winning the pandemic. Despite criticism from liberals for its laissez-faire approach to COVID-19, Florida has been "booming," according to CNN , and the state's success is "a vindication for their policies." Governor Ron DeSantis bragged that Flor
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The Show That Changed Television Forever
Adapted from Rock Me on the Water , HarperCollins Publishers, 2021. W hen CBS first placed All in the Family on the air, on January 12, 1971, it irrevocably transformed television. After a shaky first season in which it struggled to find an audience, the show prospered, rising to become No. 1 in the ratings for five consecutive years, a record unmatched at the time. All in the Family commanded na
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US agency questions AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine trial data
Drug firm may have provided incomplete view of efficacy data from US trial, says safety monitor Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid has been dealt another blow within hours of AstraZeneca posting excellent results from its long-awaited big trial in the US. Questions have been raised in the US by the independent Data and Safety
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Former US Director of National Intelligence Says He's Seriously Puzzled by UFOs
UFO Sighting In an eyebrow-raising segment on Fox News , former US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made some intriguing claims about the federal government's tracking of unidentified flying objects (UFOs.) "Frankly, there are a lot more sightings than have been made public," he told Fox personality Maria Bartiromo. "Some of those have been declassified. And when we talk about sig
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Can the UK avoid a third wave of Covid?
Analysis: as lockdown restrictions ease, the country now faces a race between vaccination and infection Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Britain's latest lockdown has dramatically reduced cases of coronavirus, and the number of people being admitted to hospital and dying from the disease. What the country faces now is essentially a race between vaccination and infecti
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You Recovered From COVID-19. Now Your Coffee Smells Like Sewage.
Ruby Martinez was eating a banana when she noticed the nothingness. She chewed but tasted no sweetness. She sniffed but got none of the fruit's redolent musk. "I started freaking out," she says. She smelled a bottle of perfume. Nothing. She ate a pickle. Still nothing. That was in June. Since then, her senses of smell and taste have started to come back—but intermittently and in strange ways. The
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Where Science and Miracles Meet
Photographs by Balarama Heller O n the morning of October 13, 1917, a year from the end of World War I, a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in the town of Fátima, Portugal. They came to witness a miracle. Three shepherd children had prophesied that the Virgin Mary would miraculously appear on that day and give the world a sign. In the previous several months, the three children—Lúcia Abobora, a
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The Whole Point Was to Avoid Mob Violence
Two months after the January 6 Capitol riot, it's now obvious that the threat of mob attacks on the government will continue to hang over the rest of the Biden years. That continuing threat was clear on March 4, America's original Inauguration Day, when the House suspended business following rumors of another armed assault on the Capitol. This time, the mob never materialized, but, unfortunately,
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Rare Daytime Meteor Fell Over England, Caused House-Shaking Boom
Daytime Fireball A rare meteor soared across the skies of southern England on Saturday causing a sonic boom loud enough to shake people's homes. The fireball streaked across the sky over Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Jersey on Saturday afternoon, according to the BBC . Though it was daytime, the meteor was bright enough to be spotted by those below. It was followed by a booming noise that was so l
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The New QAnon Docuseries Is a Gamified Mess
Early in the first episode of Q: Into the Storm , the filmmaker Cullen Hoback makes a confession. "QAnon creeps into your thoughts," he says, describing how years of investigating the false conspiracy theory that a cabal of powerful elites is engaging in ritualistic child abuse has warped his thinking. "It changes the lens with which you see the world." Hoback can't see the number 17 without thin
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The U.S. and China Finally Get Real With Each Other
Thursday night's very public dustup between United States and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Biden administration's first official meeting with China, may have seemed like a debacle, but the exchange was actually a necessary step to a more stable relationship between the two countries. In his brief opening remarks before the press, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that h
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A New Object Just Appeared In This Constellation
New Nova Just Dropped A recent addition to the night sky last week should excite stargazers everywhere: a bright new nova in the Cassiopeia constellation. Yuji Nakamura, a Japanese amateur astronomer, discovered the new light source in Cassiopeia last Thursday, according to Astronomy . Researchers at Kyoto University verified the findings at the Okayama Observatory as a "classical nova," a phenom
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Zack Snyder's Justice League Indulges the Fans and No One Else
The film's official title is Zack Snyder's Justice League. So when Zack Snyder popped up on the video screen during an HBO Max–hosted virtual watch party last night, the fans went wild—as wild as they could in a chat box, anyway. "This movie is a masterpiece," a commenter wrote before the film started playing. "Zack I respect you so much," another gushed. Snyder, the director, choked up as he res
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Our Asian Spring
M y mother's name is Tin Swe Thant. She was born just outside the former capital of Burma (now known as Myanmar), in a humid city on the delta of the Irrawaddy River called Rangoon (now known as Yangon). Names are always changing for the Burmese, and that includes our own names: My mother grew up during the sunset of British colonialism and attended English schools, where she was not allowed to b
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Just-Launched Spacecraft Will Use Grappling Hook to Destroy Space Junk
Drag and Drop A Japanese company called Astroscale is tackling the increasingly dangerous cloud of space junk orbiting our planet and the real threat it poses to satellites and other spacecraft. The company launched a new kind of satellite called the End of Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) on Monday, Quartz reports . Soon, ELSA-d will use a powerful magnet to latch onto a doomed
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NASA Chooses "Airfield" Location for Mars Helicopter
NASA has chosen the location where it will attempt a historic first: the first time a manmade object will try to take flight off the surface of another planet. As early as April , NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter will attempt to fly to roughly ten feet, according to acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk, who spoke during a Tuesday media briefing . The agency has officially chosen the "airfield"
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Plans Unveiled for Grand Mars City
Breaking Ground The architecture firm ABIBOO just released the plans for its — and perhaps the — first human city on Mars. Nüwa City, as it's called, would house 250,000 people and be built into the side of a giant Martian cliff, according to ABIBOO's press release , where residents would get the benefit of sunlight access while also being protected from the deadly onslaught of cosmic radiation.
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Covid-19 has shown humanity how close we are to the edge | Toby Ord
To prevent catastrophe, governments must transform our resilience to climate breakdown, AI and engineered pandemics It is profoundly difficult to grapple with risks whose stakes may include the global collapse of civilisation, or even the extinction of humanity. The pandemic has shattered our illusions of safety and reminded us that despite all the progress made in science and technology, we rema
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Sturgeon criticised by MSPs over Alex Salmond day after being cleared over ministerial code breach – live
Holyrood committee highly critical of Scottish first minister's accounts of meeting with former mentor Nicola Sturgeon accused of misleading parliament over Alex Salmond Nicola Sturgeon vows to focus on elections after being cleared by inquiry What did report that cleared Sturgeon of misleading parliament say? Timeline: major developments so far in the Sturgeon and Salmond affair Global coronavir
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Lockdowns return or are extended as third wave of Covid sweeps Europe
Plans to ease restrictions have been rolled back in several countries owing to new variants taking hold Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Several European countries are extending or reintroducing lockdown measures as a third wave of the pandemic sweeps the continent fuelled by more contagious new variants of coronavirus such as the B117 mutation first detected in the U
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Mystery of the walrus spotted on rocks on the Welsh coast
Experts have different theories as to how the cow-sized Arctic animal ended up so far south It could have been the incongruity of the walrus turning up on the Welsh coast . Or perhaps it was the discovery that the creature appeared to be on something of a tour of the British and Irish Isles while the human population remained in lockdown, their own chances of a foreign getaway shrinking daily. Ma
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Anticipating Robot Soldiers, Britain Is Downsizing Its Human Troops
Military Downsizing As part of a major military overhaul, the United Kingdom's Army is about to shrink by 10,000 soldiers. Or at least, that's the number of human soldiers. Part of the move to restructure the military, the BBC reports , is to invest more heavily in military robots, drones, and other tools of high-tech combat. Overall, the update represents an adaptation to the changing face of wa
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Five myths about the Big Bang
The whole universe was packed together in an infinitely small point, then it exploded, and the entire mass that made up the universe was sent out into space.
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Major 'State of the Planet' report out in advance of first Nobel Prize Summit
Human actions are threatening the resilience and stability of Earth's biosphere—the wafer-thin veil around Earth where life thrives. This has profound implications for the development of civilization, say an international group of researchers in a report published for the first Nobel Prize Summit, a digital gathering to be held in April to discuss the state of the planet in the wake of the COVID-1
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Following Your Gut Isn't the Right Way to Go
I've spent years telling people, usually with exasperation and a certain amount of petulance, to trust experts and to stop obsessing about the rarity of their failure. But that was before a crisis in which millions of lives were dependent on a working relationship between science and government. Now that I must take my own advice, I feel the same anxiety I've so often dismissed in others. We—and
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Tons of Old People Are Smoking Weed — And Doctors Are Worried
Don't be surprised if you see smoke drifting out of your grandma's retirement home when you visit her — she could just be hot boxing in the bingo hall with her friends. That's because there's been a rise of older adults smoking marijuana in recent years, and some researchers believe it's only heightened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times . A study from the National
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Sherry Turkle: 'The pandemic has shown us that people need relationships'
The acclaimed writer on technology and its effect on our mental health talks about her memoir and the insights Covid has given her Sherry Turkle, 72, is professor of the social studies of science and technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was one of the first academics to examine the impact of technology on human psychology and society. She has published a series of acclaimed bo
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This Is What It Would Be Like to Ride Starship During Its Epic "Belly Flop" Maneuver
If you've watched any of SpaceX's recent test launches, Starship prototypes have engaged in a white-knuckles mid-flight maneuver before descending back to Earth. Before landing, the Starship prototypes are designed to pull off a "belly flop" in which they switch off their engines, flip onto their front, and freefall horizontally before righting themselves — almost like a dolphin leaping out of th
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Tesla's "Fully Self Driving" Beta Would Fail A Driver's License Test
Needs Improvement Tesla's complete autopilot feature is being rolled out to more test users and it… uh, needs a little work. YouTuber AI Addict posted a video of a drive through downtown San Jose in a Tesla Model 3 using the company's "Full Self Driving" (FSD) Beta, according to Road and Track . In it, the semi-autonomous electric car can be seen swerving, attempting to drive down railroad tracks
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My son Felix was 20 when he died. Better awareness of epilepsy might have saved him
It's been the hardest four years of my life but now I know my son will always be a part of me It's 9 March 2017. I am sitting in an ambulance, holding a plastic cup which contains tea from a machine. I've just been told my son is dead. I'm in a kind of paralysis. I feel the cold, smooth vinyl of the trolley I'm sitting on beneath me and look vacantly at the equipment and signs around me. Mind You
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Our Kids Are Not Broken
Our kids have lost so much—family members, connections to friends and teachers, emotional well-being, and for many, financial stability at home. And, of course, they've lost some of their academic progress. The pressure to measure—and remediate—this "learning loss" is intense; many advocates for educational equity are rightly focused on getting students back on track. But I am concerned about how
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Researchers just measured Jupiter's stratospheric winds for the first time—and they're a doozy
This view of Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere from NASA's Juno spacecraft includes several of the planet's southern jet streams. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/) An international team of astronomers just measured Jupiter's raging stratospheric winds for the very first time—and they used a 27-year-old comet to do it. Scientists had already measured wind speeds down in Jupiter's troposphere—where the pl
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Mystery unsolved: ghost ships circling off California
'Circle spoofing' is an as-yet unexplained version of GPS interference. It shows ships moving in virtual circles while they're somewhere else. Is this the cheaper, off the shelf version of a well-known cyberweapon? Impossible journey On June 5, 2019, the Nigerian crew boat Princess Janice made an impossible journey. Instead of ferrying crews to and from oil rigs in the Gulf of Guinea, it was some
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Biden Admin Gives Out 100 Million Vaccine Doses in Just 58 Days
President Joe Biden has announced that his administration has distributed 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in just 58 days — beating its initial goal of 100 shots in 100 days by a wide margin. "Before President Biden took office, he set a goal of administering 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days, which meant increasing vaccine supply and then turning vaccines into vacci
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Matrix Multiplication Inches Closer to Mythic Goal
For computer scientists and mathematicians, opinions about "exponent two" boil down to a sense of how the world should be. "It's hard to distinguish scientific thinking from wishful thinking," said Chris Umans of the California Institute of Technology. "I want the exponent to be two because it's beautiful." "Exponent two" refers to the ideal speed — in terms of number of steps required — of perfo
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Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli review – the mysteries of quantum mechanics
Having altered how we think about time, the physicist sets his sights on perhaps the most maddeningly difficult theory of all Carlo Rovelli, the Italian theoretical physicist, is one of the great scientific explicators of our time . His wafer-thin essay collection, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics , sold more than 1m copies in English translation in 2015 and remains the world's fastest-selling scie
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A new poll reveals split opinions on how—and when—police body cam footage is released
Since the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, body cameras have been the focus of changes to increase transparency in police departments across the country. (Sean Lee/Unsplash/) Dan Bromberg is an associate professor of Public Administration and Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. Étienne Charbonneau is an associate professor and Canada research chair in Compara
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Scientist bridges the gap between quantum simulators and quantum computers
A researcher from Skoltech has filled in the gaps connecting quantum simulators with more traditional quantum computers, discovering a new computationally universal model of quantum computation, the variational model. The paper was published as a Letter in the journal Physical Review A. The work made the Editors' Suggestion list.
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We are all either desperately lonely – or desperate for alone time. Which are you? | Emma Beddington
I have had no more than a few hours on my own in a year. All this time with my family means I never have time to think What would you give for a day on your own? Fifty pounds, £1,000, a toe? Perhaps that feels offensive: it depends, of course, how you have spent the past 365. You might sacrifice a digit for a soft body to slump against on the sofa, for the hot, heavy weight of a sleeping child nu
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You Probably Don't Remember the Internet
For many of us, for better or for worse, the internet is home. Our communities are here, because many of them could not exist any other way. Superfans , shitposters , amateur experts , wiki nerds , grizzled forum moderators , obsessive sneaker enthusiasts, and hobbyists who spend a substantial amount of their time photographing vintage Furbies in human clothes, for example—the cultural and creati
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Ode to Tortillas
there's two ways to be a Mexican writer that we've discovered so far. you can be the Mexican writer who writes about tortillas or you can be the Mexican writer who writes about croissants instead of the tortillas on their plate. (can you be a Mexican writer if you're allergic to corn?) there's two ways to be a Mexican writer that are true & tested. you can write about migration or you can write a
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Scientists Detect Chemicals Inside Pregnant Women They Can't Even Identify
An alarming new study found dozens of "mystery chemicals" inside the bodies of pregnant women, leaving scientists both concerned and confused. Of the 109 unusual, human-made chemicals identified in the study, 55 had never been found inside the human body before, according to research published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology . Another 42 were complete mysteries — both
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Caltech Scientists Say They Can Read Human Brain With Ultrasound
A new trick uses precise ultrasound imaging — the same kind that lets parents-to-be see their kid before it's born — to read and even predict activity within the brain. Scientists at Caltech were able to use ultrasound to listen in as blood sloshed around in different parts of the brain, which they quickly realized was a proxy for which neural regions were active at any given moment, according to
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Covid vaccine used on apes at San Diego zoo trialled on mink
Experimental animal jabs could stop spillover back to humans, says firm behind vaccines for primates At the start of 2021, four orangutans and five bonobos became the first great apes at a US zoo to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. An outbreak in San Diego zoo's western lowland gorilla troop had caused panic among staff after the virus spread to the animals, probably from an asymptomatic zookeeper.
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'Netanyahu Is Playing With Fire With the Democrats'
Today, Israel will hold its fourth election in two years. This is a sign not of democracy on steroids, but instead of acute dysfunction, a semipermanent paralysis brought about, strangely, by the extreme stability of Israeli voting patterns: Neither the incumbent, Benjamin Netanyahu, nor his various opponents have been able to change enough minds to build a durable parliamentary majority. Netanya
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Chasing the Elusive Numbers That Define Epidemics
Variables in epidemiological models aren't usually well known to the general public, but one has had a genuine movie star moment. "What we need to determine is this," says a scientist played by Kate Winslet in the film Contagion . "For every person who gets sick, how many other people are they likely to infect?" On a whiteboard, she writes down the answer for several familiar diseases: around 1 f
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A material that is superconductive at room temperature and lower pressure
A team of researchers from the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Nevada Las Vegas has reduced the amount of pressure required to force a material to become superconductive at room temperature, improving on their own previous results. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group outlines their technique and plans
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Can you solve it? The crazy maths of crypto
A puzzle about trust, secrets, and the world's weirdest proof UPDATE: The solution can be read here Today's puzzle is based on a ground-breaking mathematical concept which last week won one of its pioneers the Abel Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of maths. The concept is the zero-knowledge proof , and it has many applications in digital cryptography . Let me briefly explain. Continue reading…
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UK's drastic cut to overseas aid risks future pandemics, say Sage experts
Major research projects will be cancelled, including those designed to head off future disease threats, warn scientists The government's drastic cut to overseas aid risks damaging the world's ability to fight the next global health disaster and keep Britain safe, some of its own scientific advisers on Covid are warning. In a significant escalation of the backlash against the cut, which will see m
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Laser detection and GPS guide this new mortar to its target with better accuracy
A traditional US Army 120mm mortar firing in 2017. (Killo Gibson / US Army /) A mortar is artillery at its most simple. A shooter angles the mortar's tube just right, drops the bomb in, and then the round rockets out, arcing a high trajectory up and over any protective walls between the shooter and its target. The "Iron Sting," a new kind of mortar-launched bomb made by Israel's Elbit Systems, ai
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Building tough 3D nanomaterials with DNA
Columbia Engineering researchers, working with Brookhaven National Laboratory, report today that they have built designed nanoparticle-based 3D materials that can withstand a vacuum, high temperatures, high pressure, and high radiation. This new fabrication process results in robust and fully engineered nanoscale frameworks that not only can accommodate a variety of functional nanoparticle types b
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The Republican Electoral College Contradiction
A few months after losing the White House, Republicans across the country have had a revelation: The Electoral College could use some improvements. The problem is that they have contradictory proposals for how to fix it—and contradictory arguments for why those proposals would help Americans pick their president. In Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Hampshire, GOP lawmakers want to award Electoral Col
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Why There's a Partisan Split on Sexual Harassment
In 2017, in response to the Access Hollywood tape and the shock of Donald Trump's election, I embarked on a research project. I wanted to understand how so many people could support a leader who had bragged about being a sexual predator. And I wanted to know why I experienced such visceral disgust for Trump's character but so many others in the United States did not. I left my job working for New
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Cuts and budget delays are undermining UK science sector, warns Labour
No funding earmarked for research agency and Europe's Horizon scheme despite imminent start to financial year The government risks creating a serious funding gap for science, Labour has warned, saying that delays over budgets and cuts to research are undermining the sector and giving the lie to ministers' boasts about Britain's status as a science superpower. The party has highlighted a continued
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Watch Tesla's Full Self-Driving Mode Steer Toward Oncoming Highway Traffic
Safety First A harrowing new video shows a Tesla, with its Full Self Driving Beta system engaged, begin to drift into multiple lanes of oncoming highway traffic before the driver slams on the brakes at the last second. YouTuber and Tesla owner Chuck Cook recently uploaded footage from inside his Tesla Model Y and from an overhead drone as he makes unprotected left turns across a three-lane highwa
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Countries resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after new data shows it's safe
The US has been able to distribute vaccines quickly enough that the Biden administration is now sharing shots with countries like Mexico and Canada. (Pixabay /) Click here to see all of PopSci's COVID-19 coverage. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to undulate around the world, here's what happened in the past week. The US delivered 100 million shots in Biden's first days When Joe Biden was inaug
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Mars water loss shaped by seasons and storms
Mars has lost most of its once plentiful water, with small amounts remaining in the planet's atmosphere. ESA's Mars Express now reveals more about where this water has gone, showing that its escape to space is accelerated by dust storms and the planet's proximity to the Sun, and suggesting that some water may have retreated underground.
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An Entire 3D-Printed Neighborhood Is Springing Up in a California Desert
Popping Up Two California companies have teamed up to build what will become the first neighborhood in the United States made entirely of 3D-printed homes. Rancho Mirage, a particularly wealthy city east of Los Angeles, is the next testing grounds for real estate developer Palari and construction tech company Mighty Buildings. The two companies are working together to build and sell 15 3D-printed
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What the Hong Kong Protesters' Trial Reveals About Beijing
The police report refers to it simply as "the Scheme." It was, in law enforcement's telling, a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing Hong Kong's government. For seven months, an eclectic array of prodemocracy activists and political hopefuls held meetings, raised funds, and gave media interviews in preparation for an unofficial primary election. One of them, the police report states, went so far as to
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Faster fusion reactor calculations thanks to machine learning
Fusion reactor technologies are well-positioned to contribute to our future power needs in a safe and sustainable manner. Numerical models can provide researchers with information on the behavior of the fusion plasma, as well as valuable insight on the effectiveness of reactor design and operation. However, to model the large number of plasma interactions requires a number of specialized models th
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I've never enjoyed small talk with strangers, but lockdown has made me crave it | Louis Staples
The pandemic has revealed the true value of social interaction – and even changed my outlook on meeting new people Last year, in what would turn out to be my last night out for a while, I found myself in a dreaded situation: at a friend's drinks, speaking to a total stranger. Not long into our conversation, my brain started searching for escape routes. I had a full glass and there was a queue for
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"Riddled with errors": Study of cell phones and breast cancer retracted
A journal has retracted a study that said exposure to radiofrequency radiation increased the risk of breast cancer after an epidemiologist found that some of the papers it relied upon did not measure radiofrequency radiation at all, in a decision that the lead author has called "unfair." The study, titled "Exposure to radiofrequency radiation increases … Continue reading
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16 values children learned from pop culture in the past 50 years
A new study tracked changes in values tweens (8-12 years old) get from popular culture. The researchers compared 16 values over a 50-year-period. The report was created by the UCLA's Center for Scholars and Storytellers. A new report from UCLA's Center for Scholars and Storytellers focused on values espoused by television programs that were popular with children 8-12 between over half a century,
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Call for UK to share spare doses as Unicef launches global vaccine drive
Wellcome Trust director speaks out as Brits are urged to back huge fundraising campaign to deliver jabs to 190 other countries Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage It is time Britain began sharing its stores of Covid vaccine doses with other less developed nations, the director of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar , has warned. The medical researcher spoke out yesterday a
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The System Held
A year has passed since the coronavirus started to dominate every conversation, large sporting events were canceled, and offices began to close their doors. Slowly and then suddenly, normal life went on pause. After months during which many journalists and politicians dismissed the dangers of COVID-19, Americans realized that they were in the midst of the most serious pandemic in a century. Soldi
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New York Man Pleads Guilty to Keeping Sharks in Basement
Basement Dwellers New York law enforcement officials made an unusual discovery in 2017 when they found seven sharks swimming in a pool in a man's basement. According to the New York Attorney General's office , Joshua Seguine, 40, pleaded guilty to illegal possession with intent to sell seven sandbar sharks this week. He was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and sentenced to a conditional discharge. "T
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Facebook wants to remove the 'friction' between you and your computer using augmented reality
Haptic feedback from wearable devices could make virtual experiences like this seem a lot more real. (Facebook/) When technology companies talk about "friction," they're often referring to the steps required to get thoughts and commands from your head into the computer through an interface. Right now, you're probably tapping your phone's touchscreen, or using your computer's mouse and keyboard, t
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A Witness to the State's Power to Kill
In the summer of 2020, the Trump administration followed through on a promise it had made a year earlier . It would, after a 17-year hiatus, resume federal executions. That original announcement detailed plans to execute five people on death row; by the end of the Trump presidency, the number had ballooned to 13—more executions than in the previous 67 years combined . The eighth person executed w
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Another new chameleon from the Bale region of Ethiopia
The Bale Mountains in south-central Ethiopia are considered to be one of the most unique centers of endemism, with an extraordinary number of plants and animals that can only be found there. Numerous species are already known from this Afromontane high-elevation plateau, making it a biodiversity hotspot, but ongoing research continues to reveal the presence of so far unknown and undescribed organi
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I Just Want to Date Like Every Other 20-Something
Two months into the pandemic, I gave in and tried Zoom dating. After a few days of chatting on OKCupid, I found myself across the screen from a perfectly nice match. It was one hour in hell: Trapped in a two-way-hostage video, I was hyperaware of everything that was missing—the smell of her perfume, how she moved through space, seeing the way she ordered a drink. If I was going to date, it had to
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Cephalopods: Older than previously thought?
Possibly the oldest cephalopods in the Earth's history stem from the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland (Canada) discovered by scientists from Heidelberg University. The 522-million-year-old fossils could turn out to be the first known form of these highly evolved invertebrate organisms, whose living descendants today include species such as the cuttlefish, octopus and nautilus. The find would indic
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Vladimir Putin to have Russian-made Covid vaccine in private
Russian president won't have first dose in public after delaying jab for months Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vladimir Putin is scheduled to receive his first dose of a Russian-made coronavirus vaccine later on Tuesday, after months of delaying his jab, in an apparent effort to boost Russia's fledgling vaccination drive. A Kremlin spokesman on Tuesday said that Put
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B2 1420+32 is a changing-look blazar, study finds
An international team of astronomers has performed multi-wavelength photometric and spectroscopic observations of a blazar known as B2 1420+32. The observational campaign found that the object exhibits a large scale spectral variability and is the so-called "changing-look" blazar. The findings are reported in a paper published March 15 on arXiv.org.
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Image: Mont Mercou on Mars
Here are a few stunning views of the Curiosity Rover's current location, Mont Mercou in Gale Crater on Mars. This towering outcrop provides a great look at layered sedimentary rock structures. On Earth, it's common to find layered rock like the ones within this cliff face, especially where there were once lakes. The pancake-like layers of sediment are compressed and cemented to form a rock record
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Keeping track of spacecraft as Earth's water alters its spin
Mass is constantly being redistributed around our planet, as Earth's atmosphere, oceans and other bodies of water on and under the surface melt, shift and stir. This mass redistribution alters Earth's center of gravity, which in turn speeds up and slows down the planet's spin—and so the length of the day—as well as changing the orientation of its spin axis. These changes to Earth's spin and orient
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What early-budding trees tell us about genetics, climate change
Late frosts have caused millions of dollars in losses for orchards over the years. Scientists are investigating the genes that tell trees when to bud out and blossom. A deep understanding of the genetics of bud-break enables scientists to modify or select crop varieties more resilient to late frost, warming winters, diseases and pests.
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Researchers develop ultra-sensitive flow microsensors
A team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed the thinnest and most sensitive flow sensor, which could have significant implications for medical research and applications, according to new research published recently in Nature Communications.
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Planting the seed for DNA nanoconstructs that grow to the micron scale
A team of nanobiotechnologists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) led by Wyss Founding Core Faculty member William Shih, Ph.D., has devised a programmable DNA self-assembly strategy that solves the key challenge of robust nucleation control and paves the way for applications such as ultrasensitive diagnostic biomarker detec
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Scientists Link Eating This Common Baseball Stadium Food With Dementia Risk
A massive new study found that there seems to be a correlation between a diet heavy in processed meats — think hot dogs, bacon, and the like — and an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. It's probably not a huge surprise that the hot dog, nachos, and large coke you grabbed at a baseball game (remember those?) wasn't the most health-conscious choice. But Gizmodo reports that a team
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The Guardian view on pandemic politics: we need cooperation, not confrontation | Editorial
Vaccinating the world is the only way out of Covid, but a mixture of nationalism and protectionism is blocking the exit Covid-19 has proved to be the greatest humanitarian and economic disaster of the century. A reported 2.7 million people have already died from the pathogen. Its recession is estimated to be twice as deep as that associated with the 2008 crash. Ultimately, the only way out of the
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You Should Definitely Try These Horrible Pickup Lines Written by AI
Love Machine Maybe you struck out this past Valentine's Day. Maybe you aren't quite sure how to start dating again once you're vaccinated and the pandemic eases up enough for it to be safe. Thankfully, romantic artificial intelligence is here to get back on your feet. Janelle Shane, a research scientist and noted AI tinkerer, is here to help. She trained variants of one of the most sophisticated
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Link between diabetes and coronavirus infections | Letters
Dr Tony Hulse and Dr Caroline Ponmani say they are seeing evidence of diabetes being triggered by the virus in children, while JK Cruickshank explains why there is a likelihood of the condition arising after a Covid-19 infection The possibility that Covid-19 could trigger diabetes ( Doctors suggest Covid-19 could cause diabetes , 19 March) fits with the experiences of paediatricians treating diab
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Virtual lab finds the right AI tool for each chemistry problem
Having the right tool for the job makes the job a lot easier, less expensive and faster. Chemical engineering researchers have now developed a virtual laboratory that can be used to determine the artificial intelligence (AI) tools best suited for addressing various chemical synthesis challenges in flow chemistry systems.
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GPs overwhelmed as website prematurely allows bookings for second Covid vaccination
Three-month gap between vaccinations is recommended but HealthEngine website allows bookings for second jab within days of first One of the booking websites contracted by the federal government for the Covid vaccine rollout is erroneously allowing Australians to book in for their second dose within days of their first shot, a problem general practitioners say is compounding demand on their clinic
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Democratizing data for a fair digital economy
The digital revolution is here, but not everyone is benefiting equitably from it. And as Silicon Valley's ethos of "move fast and break things" spreads around the world, now is the time to pause and consider who is being left out and how we can better distribute the benefits of our new data economy. "Data is the main resource of a new digital economy," says Parminder Singh, executive director at
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Catalytic hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol
Efficient conversion of CO2 is strategically significant for alleviating the energy crisis and achieving the goal of carbon neutrality. One promising conversion route is the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol using a renewable energy-based "green hydrogen" source.
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Upgrade for CRISPR/Cas: Researchers knock out multiple genes in plants at once
Using an improved version of the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas9, researchers knocked out up to twelve genes in plants in a single blow. Until now, this had only been possible for single or small groups of genes. The approach was developed by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB). The method makes it easier to investigate
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AstraZeneca's US Vaccine Trial Data
Update: this has turned into a stupid, needless, mess. Which frankly seems to be AstraZeneca's pandemic brand so far. It turns out that the company's press release (as discussed below) is apparently more of an interim read than reflective of the final data. The NIH took the extraordinary step of stating its concerns about this late last night, and there's all sorts of fallout today – see this art
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Scientists Figured Out How to Turn Food Waste Into Jet Fuel
Aviation is a major contributor to climate change, and also one of the hardest sectors to wean off fossil fuels. New research suggests we could reduce the carbon footprint of jet fuel by 165 percent by making it out of food scraps. Many sectors are making solid progress towards reducing their climate impact. The growing proportion of renewable energy in the grid is reducing reliance on polluting
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'There are times when I've been in tears': a year of Covid in the UK
As Britain prepares for a 'national day of reflection', an imam, an ex-nurse's daughter and a community volunteer recall events of the past year Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A minute's silence will be held at noon on Tuesday as a "national day of reflection" is held to mark the first anniversary of the UK going into lockdown, and to remember the 126,000 people who
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Breaking Through the Uncanny Valley
In 1970 robotics professor Masahiro Mori observed, "Bbukimi no tani genshō," which was later translated into "uncanny valley". This refers to an observed phenomenon (first in robots, but also applies to digital recreations) that the more human-like the robot the greater the emotional affinity of people. However, as imitation approaches complete imitation it takes a sharp dip where people actually
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Legal standards invoke the 'reasonable person'. Who is it?
Countless legal standards ask what the 'reasonable person' would do. But who is this person? The reasonable person is not just the average person. That's easily seen. Sometimes, average people do unreasonable things. This insight has led theorists to propose the reasonable person as some 'ideal person', such as the virtuous person, the person who achieves the best consequences, or the person who
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Why people cared less about catching COVID when it mattered most
Data as of mid-March 2020. (Graphic by Sara Chodosh/) This winter, a worrying trend emerged: although COVID-19 cases were at an all-time high, polling data indicated that many Americans were taking more risks and fewer precautions against the virus. Even as case counts rose, people seemed to care less. The national third wave peaked at more than 300,000 cases in a single day on January 8. Yet dat
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Benjamin Abeles obituary
My father, Benjamin Abeles, who has died aged 95, was a renowned physicist whose research led to the technology used to power the Voyager spacecraft. An incredibly hard-working man, he overcame tremendous obstacles in his youth. Born in Vienna, the youngest of two children of Selma (nee Kronberger), a leather artisan, and Ernst Abeles, a businessmen, Benjamin arrived in the UK from Prague as a ch
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Extraterrestrial Life Could Be Hiding in Our Galaxy's Interior Ocean Worlds
In the search for extraterrestrial life, liquid water is crucial. Life as we know it can't exist without water. This fact has led scientists to look for twins of our planet around other stars in humanity's ongoing quest for company in the universe. Twin-Earths would be rocky planets about the size of ours that orbit their stars in the habitable zone—a band of temperatures within which liquid wate
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5 ways to keep your computer from slowing down
Your machine gets old and slow. And then you get old waiting for your websites to load. (Tim Gouw / Unsplash/) Neither you nor your gadgets can escape the passage of time. But when it comes to your computer, you can at least make sure it has a long and full life by minimizing some of the creeping effects of old age. Some regular maintenance can work wonders, so don't just sit back and accept the
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How to Teach Your Kids About Money
Financial know-how can set your little one up for lifelong well-being. These child-friendly apps can help manage allowances and even create savings goals.
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How Trump Broke—And Then Saved—Impeachment
"I mpeachment is a farce which will not be tried again." Those words were written in 1807 , about 140 years before the birth of the first president ever to have been impeached twice, and Thomas Jefferson wrote them. At the time, Jefferson wasn't thinking about presidential impeachments. A few years before, he had participated behind the scenes in a successful effort to impeach Federal District Ju
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We're living in a time of high stakes and scientific risks need to be taken | Sonia Sodha
It's not enough now for science to move in a stately fashion with great caution There's nothing like living through a global pandemic to engender a dawning realisation that real-world science is a different beast from the "hypothesise, test, repeat" science we learn at school. And that just because a claim is made by an eminent scientist it is not automatically elevated to a gold standard truth.
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This Guy Made a CGI Version of Himself to Fool His Friends on Videochat
Do You Believe It? Robert Zemeckis, eat your heart out. A YouTuber has created a CGI version of himself using a powerful new app to trick his friends into thinking he was video chatting them in person. The video's creator, who goes by Ferdi, used an app called MetaHuman to create the CGI duplicate of himself. Rather than use the tool to join Zoom business meetings from his bathroom or in his unde
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NASA's Perseverance records first-ever sounds of rover driving on Mars
NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18, and is currently preparing to begin its main mission of searching for signs of ancient life. The rover contains two microphone systems, one of which was recently used to capture sounds of the rover traveling at speeds below .01 mph. NASA hopes to return Perseverance's rock collection to Earth by 2031. It's been nearly a month since Persever
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Wisconsin permitted people to hunt a contentious species. That might change next year.
Wisconsin wolf hunters may face new restrictions next year. (Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay/) This article originally featured on Field & Stream . Wisconsin's controversial wolf season might look a lot different next year. The recent weeklong February hunt closed after just three days as hunters and trappers exceeded the harvest quota by 82 percent, prompting outrage from far beyond the state's bo
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Here's What a Metal Volcano Would Look Like
Metal Volcano A team of scientists is hard at work on an important project: Figuring out what a volcano made of metal instead of rock would look like. The answer? Pretty cool. Scientists have never seen ferrovolcanism — the eruption of a metal volcano — in action, so they had to build their own in a lab. What they found was that the iron magma flowed faster and farther than rock, according to the
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Tropical species are moving northward as winters warm
Notwithstanding last month's cold snap in Texas and Louisiana, climate change is leading to warmer winter weather throughout the southern U.S., creating a golden opportunity for many tropical plants and animals to move north, according to a new study appearing this week in the journal Global Change Biology.
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Lista: Så kan du förbättra din sömn
Genom uthållighetsträning och bestämda ättider kan du förbättra din sömn. Forskare menar också att vi kan anpassa när på dagen vi tar en tupplur, beroende på om vi till exempel behöver plugga eller komma med kreativa idéer.
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Haunting Photos Show Missiles Milliseconds Before Exploding
Fatal Frame If you're interested in seeing some images taken just moments before (intentional, well-planned) disaster, boy do we have a highlight reel for you. Live weapon tests are an important part of making sure that new bombs, missiles, and drones actually do what the military wants them to do upon impact, lest the armed forces accidentally fire a dud during actual combat. Now, The Drive put
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Stroke risk higher than expected among COVID-19 patients
Analysis of data from the American Heart Association's COVID-19 CVD Registry of more than 20,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with COVID-19 through November 2020 found that, overall, COVID-19 patients had an increased risk of stroke compared with patients who had influenza or sepsis. COVID-19 patients with ischemic stroke were more likely to be older, male, Black race or have high blood pressure, Type
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How insect wings withstand collisions without breaking
About once a second wings of foraging bees collide with small obstacles such as flowers, leaves or branches during flight without suffering major long-term damage. At the same time, they withstand aerodynamic loads effortlessly—yet the fragile structures make up just two percent of the total mass of an insect's body. Scientists from the Zoological Institute at Kiel University (CAU) are investigati
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Adorable Video Shows Elon Musk's Baby Playing a Synthesizer
X Æ A-XII Drops a Beat Elon Musk and Claire "Grimes" Boucher might have a future music producer on their hands. Grimes posted a video to her Instagram Story of the couple's baby, X Æ A-XII, playing with her synthesizer and making some impromptu beats. The adorable baby beamed with joy as he composed loops and flexed his inherited melodic abilities. At one point, he stared up at his mother to laug
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Fungal species causing candidiasis use distinct infection strategies
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida. It is a serious global health problem and it can be vaginal, oral or systemic. The latter is the most severe form of infection, as it can lead to death, but vaginal candidiasis infection is the most prevalent, affecting 80% of women at some point in their lives.
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Homeroom: My Son Spends Hours Studying. Then He Forgets Everything.
Editor's Note: Every Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their kids' education. Have one? Email them at homeroom@theatlantic.com. Dear Abby and Brian, I don't know if it has to do with remote learning or if this would have come up anyway, but my sixth grader, whom I'll call "Tom," immediately seems to forget everything he studies. He remembers non-school-re
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Bacteria may aid anti-cancer immune response
Cancer immunotherapy may get a boost from an unexpected direction: bacteria residing within tumor cells. Researchers have discovered that the immune system "sees" these bacteria and shown they can be harnessed to provoke an immune reaction against the tumor. The study may also help clarify the connection between immunotherapy and the gut microbiome, explaining the findings of previous research tha
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How do humpback whales rest?
An international research collaboration has used an omnidirectional camera attached to humpback whale to reveal how these creatures rest underwater. These findings demonstrate how wide-angle lens cameras can be useful tools for illuminating the ecology of difficult-to-observe animals in detail.
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Turn yourself into an illustrated avatar for free
That disturbing moment Avatoon tells you you look a lot like your mother. ( Nathana Rebouças / Unsplash/) As popular as selfies are, some people just don't like taking pictures of themselves. But in the Work-From-Home Era, your name on the screen or a colored dot with your initials just won't cut it. An illustrated avatar may be the perfect middle ground. Do a quick search for "avatar generator"
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An exotic metal-insulator transition in a surface-doped transition metal dichalcogenide
Metal-insulator transition (MIT) driven by many-body interactions is an important phenomenon in condensed matter physics. Exotic phases always emerge around the metal-insulator transition points where quantum fluctuations arise from a competition among spin, charge, orbital, and lattice degrees of freedom. Two-dimensional (2D) materials are a large class of materials. Their simple structure, low d
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Parents: Step away from that focused little kid
Too much parental involvement when children are focused on an activity can undermine their behavioral development, research finds. Parents today often look for teachable moments and find plenty of opportunities. When reading a book with a child, for example, it might mean discussing story plots with them. If they aren't allowed to play a video game, it means explaining why. "When parents let kids
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A synthesis of health benefits of natural sounds and their distribution in national parks [Environmental Sciences]
Parks are important places to listen to natural sounds and avoid human-related noise, an increasingly rare combination. We first explore whether and to what degree natural sounds influence health outcomes using a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. We identified 36 publications examining the health benefits of natural sound. Meta-analyses of…
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Elon Musk Has an Interesting Argument Against UFOs
The Strongest Argument Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk waded in to the world of UFO sightings this week, claiming his latest meme is the "strongest argument against aliens." Strongest argument against aliens pic.twitter.com/eF2FFZpJQE — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2021 The graph shows how the resolution of cameras has risen since the 19th century — even while images of UFO sightings have remai
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Did you solve it? The crazy maths of crypto
The solution to today's puzzle about trust, secrets and the world's weirdest proof Earlier today I set the following puzzle, based on the remarkable mathematical concept of a 'zero-knowledge proof,' which has applications in cyber security. (To find out why this concept is so revolutionary, and how it relates to the puzzle, you can read the original article here .) The stolen paper clip Continue
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The best tablet for gaming, drawing, editing and more: Our picks for all ages and activities
Take your office on the go or find your inner artist with the best tablet for your lifestyle. (Daniel Romero via Unsplash/) Tablets have come a long way in the last decade. While portable touchscreen devices have been prototyped and produced since the 1970s, and they even enjoyed the spotlight when Type-A personalities made the PalmPilot the handheld PC du jour in the late '90s, the tablet comput
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Plasmonic nanoreactors regulate selective oxidation via energetic electrons and nanoconfined thermal fields
When optimizing catalysis in the lab, product selectivity and conversion efficiency are primary goals for materials scientists. Efficiency and selectivity are often mutually antagonistic, where high selectivity is accompanied by low efficiency and vice versa. Increasing the temperature can also change the reaction pathway. In a new report, Chao Zhan and a team of scientists in chemistry and chemic
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Evidence suggests that many tornados are bigger and stronger than reported
A small team of researchers with the Center for Severe Weather Research, in Boulder, Colorado, has found evidence that suggests many tornados in the U.S. are bigger and stronger than their classification would suggest. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of tornadic activity in the U.S. and what they found.
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The CysLT2R receptor mediates leukotriene C4-driven acute and chronic itch [Neuroscience]
Acute and chronic itch are burdensome manifestations of skin pathologies including allergic skin diseases and atopic dermatitis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs), comprising LTC4, LTD4, and LTE4, are produced by immune cells during type 2 inflammation. Here, we uncover a role for LTC4…
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Babies prefer baby talk, whether they're learning one language or two
A study finds babies prefer baby talk, whether they're learning one language or two. Scientists knew infants learning one language preferred the sing-song tones of parents' baby talk, and now scientists have found babies learning two languages are developmentally right on track. Bilingual babies showed the same interest in baby talk, at the same age, as monolingual babies.
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Worth one's salt: An ancient Maya commodity
The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Salt cakes could have been easily transported in canoes along the coast and up rivers in southern Belize, according to archaeologists.
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Weekly insulin helps patients with type 2 diabetes achieve similar blood sugar control to daily insulin
A new once-weekly basal insulin injection demonstrated similar efficacy and safety and a lower rate of low blood sugar episodes compared with a daily basal insulin, according to a phase 2 clinical trial. The study results compared an investigational drug called basal insulin Fc (BIF) with insulin degludec, a commercially available long-lasting daily insulin, in patients with type 2 diabetes.
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