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Queen of the corvids: the scientist fighting to save the world's brainiest birds
A pioneering research laboratory in Cambridge proves that corvids are delightfully clever. Here, its founder reveals what the crow family has taught her – and her heartbreak at the centre's closure Leo, an 18-year-old rook, is playing mind games. It's a street-corner classic – cups and balls. Only this time the venue is the Comparative Cognition Laboratory in Madingley, Cambridge, and the ball is


Best Remote-Control Helicopters in 2022
The best remote control helicopters are easy to fly, making them a great hobby for anyone looking to get their child or themselves outdoors. These toys, which measure less than a foot long, are small enough to fly through your living room or soar outdoors. They're designed to suit pilots of all skill levels with altitude stabilizers and controls that allow them to take off and land at the push of
Best Marine Speakers of 2022
Boats and music go hand in hand, and if you're a boat owner, chances are you've considered investing in a set of marine speakers to trick out your vessel. The best options provide sound that's powerful enough to set the mood for any activity, whether you're dropping anchor for a swim or racing powerboats. Sound gets lost on the open water, but with a good marine radio and speakers you'll have all
AI Shakespeare and AI Oscar Wilde Debate Machine Creativity at Oxford
"Nay, nay, I say! This cannot be, That machines should e'er surpass our art. We are the masters, them the slaves, And thus it ever shall be so! They learn, 'tis true, but they learn Only what we bid them learn, no more. They cannot understand the heart Or beauty of our words, you see. So let us not give in to these Machines—they'll never be as good As we are at creating art." If that reads a litt
Artificial Consciousness Is Boring
Last week, Google put one of its engineers on administrative leave after he claimed to have encountered machine sentience on a dialogue agent named LaMDA. Because machine sentience is a staple of the movies, and because the dream of artificial personhood is as old as science itself, the story went viral, gathering far more attention than pretty much any story about natural-language processing (NL
The Best Hope for Fixing America's Gun Crisis
Even if Congress does manage to pass gun legislation in the weeks ahead—still a big if—that legislation will leave much to be done. The proposed framework does not, for example, increase the minimum age for purchasing firearms, address assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, or close background-check loopholes for secondary sales, among other shortcomings. Americans who want a more far-reac
Five years ago I felt like a failure as a dad, now I'm sharing with other men how to love their children
After admitting to other Black dads he found parenting difficult, Marvyn Harrison began transforming his relationship with his kids It was on Father's Day, five years ago, that Marvyn Harrison sent a heartfelt message to his friends that would change his life for ever. Back then, his son was three and his daughter was six months old. And he couldn't seem to help feeling constantly like a fake, an
The Organization of Your Bookshelves Tells Its Own Story
My father loved books more than anything else in the world. He owned about 11,000 of them at the time of his death, in March of 2021, at 83 years old. There were books in his living room and bedroom, books in the hallways and closets and kitchen. Sometimes I stop in the center of my own home like a bird arrested in flight, entranced by the books that line my walls. I live in a small Manhattan apa
Russia Has a Plan for Ukraine. It Looks Like Chechnya.
The constant boom of artillery in the near distance is the defining feature of life in the Donbas today. As Russia presses its offensive to take the eastern part of Ukraine, the signs of conflict are everywhere: buildings smashed to ruins by cruise missiles, Ukrainian tanks and howitzers on the highway headed east. The Donbas region, encompassed by a front stretching hundreds of miles and current
Does the Jason Kander Story Have a Third Act?
T here's a saying , though it's more of a whisper, that politicians are damaged people. That those who run for office have a pathological need for validation, that they're willing to go to obscene lengths to get attention, even if it means putting themselves or their family at risk. Jason Kander is ready to admit that all of this is true. You may remember Kander as the Millennial Afghanistan vete
What Is the Ideal Gas Law?
Without it, it would be impossible to inflate a balloon or a tire. But understanding how it works requires a little bit of physics and chemistry.
Trump's Savviest Aides Already Headed for the Exits
Many sophisticated observers of the January 6 committee will judge its success by two key metrics : whether the panel refers former President Donald Trump for criminal investigation and, if so, whether Attorney General Merrick Garland actually proceeds. But committee members are doing another job at least as important as advising the Justice Department: They are giving an off-ramp to those who ac
'It's taken so long': Monkeypox patients raise concerns over UK tracing delays
Two men who contracted the virus share their experiences of contact tracing and vaccination system UK monkeypox outbreak not yet under control, say experts With the monkeypox outbreak continuing in the UK , some of those affected have raised concerns over delays and difficulties in contact tracing and vaccination. Joel* told the Guardian he had sought advice on testing and vaccination after becom
UK monkeypox outbreak not yet under control, say experts
Suggestions vaccines may need to be offered to all men who have sex with men to combat spread of virus 'It's taken so long': Monkeypox patients raise concerns over UK tracing delays The monkeypox outbreak in the UK is not yet under control, experts have warned, with some suggesting that vaccines may need to be offered to all men who have sex with men. Monkeypox, which is to be given a new name by
Bird flu is on the rise in the UK. Are chickens in the back garden to blame?
The risk to humans from the disease, spread by wild birds, is low but a record level of outbreaks this year has researchers worried Bird flu outbreaks rose nearly fivefold last year, creating an urgent need for research into preventing the spread of the disease, according to the head of a new consortium investigating the virus. The record of 26 outbreaks involving H5N1 in 2021 has been shattered,
Inquiry urged into 'parental alienation' court experts
Lawyers and MPs in England and Wales express concern over 'unregulated' psychologists who play key role in disputes over domestic abuse MPs, lawyers and charity leaders are among those calling for an urgent inquiry into the use of unregulated psychological experts in the family courts, after an investigation by the Observer . In a letter sent to the justice secretary, the victims' commissioner fo
2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 12, 2022 through Sat, June 18, 2022. The following articles sparked above average interest during the week (bolded articles are from SkS authors): White lies: Daily Telegraph's excitement over bumper snow season skates over facts , Skeptical Science tackles 'discourses of climate delay' and 'solut
Was the Delta Variant 😂 for Children?
Maybe this year, sheltered doctors will realize that variants with the potential to hospitalize and kill children can't just be brushed away with 😂 and that sarcastic requests to wait "2 weeks🙄" rarely age well. The post first appeared on Science-Based Medicine .
Where science meets fiction: the dark history of eugenics
The scientist and author Dr Adam Rutherford looks at how the study of genetics has been warped for political ends It's a quirk of history that the foundations of modern biology – and as a consequence, some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century – should rely so heavily on peas. Cast your mind back to school biology, and Gregor Mendel, whose 200th birthday we mark next month. Though Mendel is
Amazing Deepfakes of Margot Robbie Are Almost Indistinguishable From Reality
Definitely Deepfaked Maybe it's Margot Robbie, maybe it's a deepfake. Nah — the videos that a weird TikTok accoun t literally named "Unreal Margot," are posting are absolutely deepfakes, not real clips of the "Suicide Squad" star best known for playing Harley Quinn . The account's bio even includes the word "parody," but that doesn't mean the people watching have caught on. One video of Robbie re
Scientists Find Secret Polar Bear Clan Hidden For Centuries in Greenland
One Arctic, Hold The Ice Around 300 secret polar bears have been secluded from other bear populations in Greenland for about 200 years, scientists said Thursday when they published a new study in the journal Science . The bears live in sea-ice conditions that reserachers say mimic what other parts of the Arctic will look like as climate change progresses. Their territory lacks ice more than 100 d
Watch the Tesla Semi Show Off at a Speedway
Semi-Alive The sleek white exterior of Tesla's electric Semi looks more than a luxury RV than an 18-wheeler. The curvaceous cab drove through a Michigan speedway with lights a-blazing, and a Tesla owners club shared video of the moment on Twitter yesterday . The official Tesla Instagram page originally posted the footage to its stories, but that will disappear after 24 hours. The Semi wasn't pull
Conjugated microporous polymer membranes for light-gated ion transport
Abstract Inspired by the light-gated ion channels in cell membranes that play important roles in many biological activities, herein, we developed an artificial light-gated ion channel membrane out of conjugated microporous polymers. Through bottom-up design of the monomer molecular structure and by the electropolymerization method, the membrane pore size and thickness were precisely controlled on
Europe swelters in record-breaking June heatwave
Spain, France and other western European nations sweltered over the weekend under a blistering June heatwave that has sparked forest fires and concerns such early summer blasts of hot weather will now become the norm.
Thousands of Cattle Die From Intense Heat in US
Content warning: This story contains frank conversations about dying and injured animals. Too Hot Cattle are dying by the thousands in Kansas this week because of an intense heat wave, NPR reported Thursday . The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed at least 2,000 head of cattle died in the southwestern part of the state, but it may be even worse than officials know. A widely-sha
Scientists Say They're Honing in on a Pill You Can Take Instead of Exercising
A group of researchers from Stanford, Baylor and other universities say they've found the specific molecules in blood that reduce both appetite and obesity in mice that became obese because of their diet. The Baylor College of Medicine team published their research in the journal Nature , and expanded in the context behind the research in a press release . "Regular exercise has been proven to hel
Voracious Jupiter Ate a Bunch of Baby Planets, Scientists Say
Me Hongy! Jupiter may be our solar system's hungriest hippo — as evidenced by new data from NASA's Juno probe that found the remains of a ton of smaller planets lurking beneath's the gas giant's opaque exterior. A new paper published this month in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics highlights findings from an international consortium of astronomers whose close study of the Juno data found that
Best Samsung Smartwatches of 2022
The best Samsung smartwatch may be the brand's newest model, the Galaxy Watch 4, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best smartwatch for you. The Galaxy 4 is certainly impressive with its ample memory, fast processor, access to numerous apps, and advanced fitness tracking capabilities, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. In addition to the 4, Samsung's line of watches include its ear
Wild Elephant Reportedly Killed Woman, Returned to Trample Corpse at Funeral
Past Life They say elephants never forget, but nobody ever told us how seriously true that could be. Police in India said this week, via Newsweek , that a 17-year-old women was walking to collect water when a wild elephant strayed from its sanctuary and attacked the 70-year-old, who later died from the injuries at a hospital. But in an extraordinary twist, they say, the elephant returned to her f
Softening tough tissue in aging ovaries may help fight infertility
Would-be parents hoping to get pregnant face a ticking clock: The older potential mothers get, the more their fertility drops. A new study in mice may help explain why. Ovaries accumulate "stiff" tissue as they age, and researchers have found that reducing the amount of this tissue—"softening" the ovaries, as it were—restored fertility in the animals, raising the possibility that the same approac
NIH launches grant program aimed at closing the funding rate gap between Black and white investigators
After having one idea batted down last year, some National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes are taking a new tack to bolster the success rate of Black scientists and researchers from other underrepresented groups seeking research grants. A program aiming to diversify the NIH workforce could award up to $20 million a year to neuroscience, drug abuse, and mental health investigators from minor
Electrocuted birds are sparking wildfires
In 2014, a wildfire ripped through central Chile, destroying 2500 homes and killing at least 13 people . A year later, a blaze in Idaho burned more than 4000 hectares, an area nearly 12 times the size of New York City's Central Park. Both conflagrations had one thing in common: Experts believe they were started by birds. Our feathered friends love to perch on power lines, which can be a great pla
Ultrafast charge transfer coupled to quantum proton motion at molecule/metal oxide interface
Abstract Understanding how the nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) in the hydrogen bond (H-bond) network influence the photoexcited charge transfer at semiconductor/molecule interface is a challenging problem. By combining two kinds of emerging molecular dynamics methods at the ab initio level, the path integral–based molecular dynamics and time-dependent nonadiabatic molecular dynamics, and choosing
Amphotericin B assembles into seven-molecule ion channels: An NMR and molecular dynamics study
Abstract Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug with a long history of use, forms fungicidal ion-permeable channels across cell membranes. Using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations, we experimentally elucidated the three-dimensional structure of the molecular assemblies formed by this drug in membranes in the presence of the fungal sterol ergosterol.
BACE-1 inhibition facilitates the transition from homeostatic microglia to DAM-1
Abstract BACE-1 is required for generating β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we report that microglial BACE-1 regulates the transition of homeostatic to stage 1 disease-associated microglia (DAM-1) signature. BACE-1 deficiency elevated levels of transcription factors including Jun , Jund , Btg2 , Erg1 , Junb , Fos , and Fosb in the transition signature, which transition f
Concealable physically unclonable function chip with a memristor array
Abstract A physically unclonable function (PUF) is a creditable and lightweight solution to the mistrust in billions of Internet of Things devices. Because of this remarkable importance, PUF need to be immune to multifarious attack means. Making the PUF concealable is considered an effective countermeasure but it is not feasible for existing PUF designs. The bottleneck is finding a reproducible r
High-speed acoustic holography with arbitrary scattering objects
Abstract Recent advances in high-speed acoustic holography have enabled levitation-based volumetric displays with tactile and audio sensations. However, current approaches do not compute sound scattering of objects' surfaces; thus, any physical object inside can distort the sound field. Here, we present a fast computational technique that allows high-speed multipoint levitation even with arbitrar
Development of a physiological insulin resistance model in human stem cell–derived adipocytes
Abstract Adipocytes are key regulators of human metabolism, and their dysfunction in insulin signaling is central to metabolic diseases including type II diabetes mellitus (T2D). However, the progression of insulin resistance into T2D is still poorly understood. This limited understanding is due, in part, to the dearth of suitable models of insulin signaling in human adipocytes. Traditionally, ad
Discovery of distinct lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and the Gutenberg discontinuity in the Atlantic Ocean
Abstract The plate tectonic theory requires a rigid lithosphere floating over a weak asthenosphere, separated by the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, which has been sometimes interpreted as the Gutenberg discontinuity. Using a deep seismic reflection technique, we report the presence of two continuous reflections covering 27 Ma to 58 Ma oceanic lithosphere in the Atlantic Ocean. We find that t
Female reproductive life span is extended by targeted removal of fibrotic collagen from the mouse ovary
Abstract The female ovary contains a finite number of oocytes, and their release at ovulation becomes sporadic and disordered with aging and with obesity, leading to loss of fertility. Understanding the molecular defects underpinning this pathology is essential as age of childbearing and obesity rates increase globally. We identify that fibrosis within the ovarian stromal compartment is an underl
Metal ion–regulated assembly of designed modular protein cages
Abstract Coiled-coil (CC) dimers are versatile, customizable building modules for the design of diverse protein architectures unknown in nature. Incorporation of dynamic self-assembly, regulated by a selected chemical signal, represents an important challenge in the construction of functional polypeptide nanostructures. Here, we engineered metal binding sites to render an orthogonal set of CC het
Sequential compound fusion and kiss-and-run mediate exo- and endocytosis in excitable cells
Abstract Vesicle fusion at preestablished plasma membrane release sites releases transmitters and hormones to mediate fundamental functions like neuronal network activities and fight-or-flight responses. This half-a-century-old concept—fusion at well-established release sites in excitable cells—needs to be modified to include the sequential compound fusion reported here—vesicle fusion at previous
Polyoxocationic antimony oxide cluster with acidic protons
Abstract The success and continued expansion of research on metal-oxo clusters owe largely to their structural richness and wide range of functions. However, while most of them known to date are negatively charged polyoxometalates, there is only a handful of cationic ones, much less functional ones. Here, we show an all-inorganic hydroxyiodide [H 10.7 Sb 32.1 O 44 ][H 2.1 Sb 2.1 I 8 O 6 ][Sb 0.76
The phagocytic cyst cells in Drosophila testis eliminate germ cell progenitors via phagoptosis
Abstract Phagoptosis is a frequently occurring nonautonomous cell death pathway in which phagocytes eliminate viable cells. While it is thought that phosphatidylserine (PS) "eat-me" signals on target cells initiate the process, the precise sequence of events is largely unknown. Here, we show that in Drosophila testes, progenitor germ cells are spontaneously removed by neighboring cyst cells throu
Observing separate spin and charge Fermi seas in a strongly correlated one-dimensional conductor
Abstract An electron is usually considered to have only one form of kinetic energy, but could it have more, for its spin and charge, by exciting other electrons? In one dimension (1D), the physics of interacting electrons is captured well at low energies by the Tomonaga-Luttinger model, yet little has been observed experimentally beyond this linear regime. Here, we report on measurements of many-
Human impacts as the main driver of tropical forest carbon
Abstract Understanding the mechanisms controlling forest carbon storage is crucial to support "nature-based" solutions for climate change mitigation. We used a dataset of 892 Atlantic Forest inventories to assess the direct and indirect effects of environmental conditions, human impacts, tree community proprieties, and sampling methods on tree above-ground carbon stocks. We showed that the widely
China wants all social media comments to be pre-reviewed before publishing
China is fine-tuning its censorship machine, this time proposing changes in how to regulate the billions of online comments posted in the country every day. On June 17, the internet regulator Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published a draft update on the responsibilities of platforms and content creators in managing online comments. One line stands out: all online comments would have to
MIT Scientists Want to Put a Barrier Between Earth and Sun to Fight Climate Change
SPF One Gazillion Imagine sunblock, but for the entire planet. That 's pretty much what a team of MIT researchers are proposing to stave off further catastrophe from climate change — except their form of "sunblock" involves a raft of giant space bubbles acting as a barrier between the Earth and Sun. Spearheaded by MIT's Sensible Cities Lab, the project, matter-of-factly dubbed "Space Bubbles," as

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