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Sci-News Roundup May 11 - May 17, 2024

General Interest  Cosmos   Innovation   Health  Nature  Environment  Climate

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Recent and Upcoming Events

Mar 19 Biodiversity in the Sixth Mass Extinction (Belmont Media Ctr) (video)

Apr 23 How Effective Are Vitamin D Supplements? (Belmont Media Ctr) (video)

May 06 Kingdom of Play (Forum Network webinar' video)

May 14 Our Expanding Universe: The DESI Project's First Results (FN webinar)

June 18 New Directions in Particle Physics (Forum Network webinar)


Did Ben Franklin Really Invent the Lightning Rod?

Mental Floss, May 08, 2024

Ben Franklin’s famous experiment with the kite and key gave him a better understanding of the nature of electricity. But did that event lead to the lightning rod?

Why Are Algorithms Called Algorithms? A Brief History of the Persian Polymath You’ve Likely Never Heard Of

The Conversation May 07, 2024

Over 1,000 years before the internet and smartphone apps, Persian scientist and polymath Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī invented the concept of algorithms.

5 Ancient Roman Medical Practices Still in Use Today

The Collector, May 13, 2024

The Romans developed Roman Medicine by leaning on the knowledge of the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Etruscans, and others. Many of their medical practices are still in use today.

Mathematicians Marvel at ‘Crazy’ Cuts Through Four Dimensions

Quanta, April 22, 2024

Topologists prove two new results that bring some order to the confoundingly difficult study of four-dimensional shapes.

How a Connecticut Middle School Won the Battle Against Cellphones

Washington Post, May 01, 2024

When Raymond Dolphin became assistant principal of a middle school in Connecticut two years ago, it was clear to him that the kids were not all right. The problem was cellphones.


Giant Structure Lurking in Deep Space Challenges Our Understanding of The Universe

Science Alert, May 12, 2024

In light that has traveled for 6.9 billion years to reach us, astronomers have found a giant, almost perfect ring of galaxies, some 1.3 billion light-years in diameter. It doesn't match any known structure or formation mechanism.

Some Clever Ways to Search for Primordial Black Holes

Universe Today, May 13, 2024

Primordial Black Holes (PBHs) have recently received much attention in the physics community. One of the primary reasons is the potential link to dark matter. In effect, if PBHs can be proven to exist, there’s a very good chance that they are what dark matter, the invisible thing that makes up 85% of the universe’s mass, is made of. If proven, that would surely be a Nobel-level discovery in astrophysics.

Looking Back Billions of Years to See the First Stars in the Universe

Earth, May 13, 2024

The cosmos has always held mysteries, but perhaps none as profound as the story of its inception, featuring the universe’s first stars. These ancient luminaries, known as Population III stars, were quite unlike those we see today.

Is Dark Matter's Main Rival Theory Dead? The Cassini Spacecraft and Other Recent Tests May Invalidate MOND

Phys.Org, May 10, 2024

One of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics today is that the forces in galaxies do not seem to add up. Galaxies rotate much faster than predicted by applying Newton's law of gravity to their visible matter, despite those laws working well everywhere in the solar system.

The Strangest Alien Worlds Are beyond Astronomers’ Wildest Dreams

Scientific American, May 09, 2024

Alien worlds that glow like lightbulbs or harbor molten-rock rain are revealing planets’ profound cosmic diversity—and pointing the way toward finding those that truly resemble our own familiar Earth


Disarmingly Lifelike: ChatGPT-4o Will Laugh at Your Jokes and Your Dumb Hat

Ars Technica, May 13, 2024

It's amazing what a few well-placed chuckles and vocal tone shifts can do.

New Process Results in Near Complete Destruction of PFAS Chemicals

Cosmos, May 10, 2024

US researchers have discovered a new strategy to clean up “forever chemicals” from contaminated water and importantly, it can do so at room temperatures.

Are Floating Cities the Solution to Rising Seas?

New York Times, May 10, 2024

Is living on the water our future? Floating developments, including a project in progress in South Korea, suggest that it’s more than a pipe dream.

How Fungi Could Help Clean Up Our Biggest Toxic Messes

Environmental Health News, May 13, 2024

Fungi are nature’s decomposers, using enzymes to break apart organic material. Emerging results suggest they can clean up polluted soils, too.

Lethal AI Weapons Are Here: How Can We Control Them?

Nature, April 23, 2024

Autonomous weapons guided by artificial intelligence are already in use. Researchers, legal experts and ethicists are struggling with what should be allowed on the battlefield.


Brain Worms like the One in RFK, Jr.’s Head Are Actually a Global Problem

Scientific American, May 10, 2024

Experts explain how certain worms can infect the brain and why they are an important global public health problem.

The 9 Healthiest Types of Cheese

Healthline, July 19, 2023

Many varieties of cheese, such as mozzarella, blue cheese, and feta, can provide protein and other important nutrients.

Walks in Green Parks Mean Stronger Immune Systems and Better Mental Health

New York Times, April 14 2024

Contact with nature improves physical and mental health, but greenery is not easily reached by all

Rise of Drug-Resistant Superbugs Could Make Covid Pandemic Look ‘Minor’, Expert Warns

The Guardian, May 13, 2023

Common infections will kill millions if drug resistance through misuse of antibiotics is not curbed, says England’s ex-chief medical officer

Don’t Let Loneliness Harm Your Health

WebMD, August 30, 2023

What matters is to have strong connections. Those who do tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive. Those who don’t may feel isolated, misunderstood, and depressed: lonely. It can take a physical toll, too. But you can take steps to overcome that.


The 8 Slowest Animals in the World

Treehugger, May 01, 2024

From sloths to snails, tortoises to slugs, the slowest animals in the world just aren’t in a hurry.

How Memories Are Made – And Preserved

Horizon EU, May 06, 2024

Research into how the human brain stores information could lead to treatments for people who struggle with everyday tasks.

A New Tree of Flowering Plants? For Spring? Groundbreaking.

New York Times, May 11, 2024

By sequencing an enormous amount of data, a group of hundreds of researchers has gained new insights into how flowers evolved on Earth.

Near-Collapse of Geomagnetic Field May Have Contributed to Diversification of Life on Earth

Sci-News, May 10, 2024

An ultra-weak geomagnetic field between 591 and 565 million years ago (Ediacaran period) coincided with a significant increase in the oxygen levels in the atmosphere and oceans, says a research team led by University of Rochester geoscientists.

Playing with the Kids Is Important Work for Chimpanzee Mothers

The Conversation, May 08, 2024

For most group-living animals, play is an integral component of development. Beyond just having fun, social play allows them to practice critical physical and social skills they will need later in life. But these researchers discovered that it's not just the young ones playing.


Why You Should Let Insects Eat Your Plants

BBC, May 04, 2024

Renegade gardeners across the world are embracing a new philosophy: gardening that prioritizes insects, not plants.

Bayer Seeks Reapproval of Pesticide That Federal Courts Have Twice Banned for Causing Widespread Damage to Crops and Communities

Common Dreams, May 06, 2024

The request comes after two different federal courts vacated the registrations of the drift-prone weedkiller — one in 2020 and the other in February 2024. Dicamba drift has damaged millions of acres, including croplands, home gardens, forests, and even wildlife refuges.

International Court Issues First-Ever Decision Enforcing the Right to a Healthy Environment

Inside Climate News, March 29, 2024

The landmark ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will have far reaching implications for communities affected by extreme pollution.

It’s Not Just Hotter Temps – Changing Currents, Disease Threaten World’s Corals

Cosmos, May 09, 2024

Shifting ocean circulation patterns driven by climate change are potentially pushing the world’s coral reefs to the brink, a new study warns.

Brutal Heatwaves and Submerged Cities: What a 3C World Would Look Like

The Guardian, May 11, 2024

Climate scientists have told the Guardian they expect catastrophic levels of global heating. Here’s what that would mean for the planet


La Nina Is On Its Way Back. An Atmospheric Scientist Explains What to Expect

PBS News Hour, May 12, 2024

One of the big contributors to the record-breaking global temperatures over the past year – El Nino – is nearly gone, and its opposite, La Nina, is on the way.

Major Emitters ‘May Retain or Expand’ Fossil Fuels Despite Net-Zero Plans

Carbon Brief, May 09, 2024

Countries that pump out large amounts of greenhouse gases could “retain or expand” their fossil fuel industries while treating such emissions as “inevitable” in their net-zero accounting, according to a new study.

How Melting Ice Has Altered Time-Keeping

Nautilus, May 09, 2024

Climate change could upend how we synchronize global clocks forever.

Big Banks Have Funded Climate Crisis With Nearly $7 Trillion Since Paris Agreement

Common Dreams, May 13, 2024

"Banks that profit from climate chaos invent new greenwash every year, but we have the receipts that show how much money they put into fossil fuels," said one report author.

From Flooding in Brazil and Houston to Brutal Heat in Asia, Extreme Weather Seems Nearly Everywhere

AP, May 07, 202

In a world growing increasingly accustomed to wild weather swings, the last few days and weeks have seemingly taken those environmental extremes to a new level.

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