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Sci-News Roundup May 18 - May 24, 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 video

June 11 The Battle for the Future of Food (Forum Network webinar)

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


Found at Last: Long-Lost Branch of the Nile That Ran by the Pyramids

Nature, May 16, 2024

Geological survey reveals the remains of a major waterway that ancient Egyptian builders could have used to transport materials.

What Is Pasteurization? A Dairy Expert Explains How It Protects Against Food-Borne Illness, Including Avian Flu

The Conversation, May 17, 2024

The heating process, which became known as pasteurization, was adopted in the U.S. prior to World War II, at a time when milk was responsible for 25% of all U.S. outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.

Strangely Curved Shapes Break 50-Year-Old Geometry Conjecture

Quanta, May 14, 2024

Mathematicians have disproved a major conjecture about the relationship between curvature and shape.

What Was the Importance of the Dragon in Early Medieval England?

The Collector, May 17, 2024

Dragons were prevalent beasts in early medieval art and literature. They signified cunning, greed, and power, and were occasionally even representative of the devil.

Did Earth’s Multicellular Life Depend on Plate Tectonics?

Universe Today, May 18, 2024

How did complex life emerge and evolve on the Earth and what does this mean for finding life beyond Earth? This is what a recent study published in Nature hopes to address as a pair of researchers investigated how plate tectonics, oceans, and continents are responsible for the emergence and evolution of complex life across our planet.


A New Theory of Quantum Gravity Could Explain the Biggest Puzzle in Cosmology, Study Suggests

Live Science, May 19, 2024

A new theory of quantum gravity, which attempts to unite quantum physics with Einstein's relativity, could help solve the puzzle of the universe's expansion, a theoretical paper suggests.

What Is a Galaxy? All You Need to Know about Galaxies

EarthSky, May 21, 2024

Galaxies are the building blocks of our universe. Their distribution isn’t random, as one might suppose. Instead, galaxies reside along unimaginably long filaments across the universe, forming a cosmic web of star cities.

The Strongest Solar Storm in 20 Years Did Little Damage, but Worse Space Weather Is Coming

Scientific American, May 16, 2024

Years of careful planning helped safeguard against last weekend’s severe space weather, but we still don’t know how we’d cope with a monster event.

Science Made Simple: What Are Electrons?

Sci-Tech Daily, May 21, 2024

The electron is a subatomic particle that is present in all atoms. Unlike protons, neutrons, or the nuclei of atoms, electrons are elementary particles. This means they are not composed of even smaller particles. Also unlike protons and neutrons, electrons have essentially no mass.   

Blue Origin Flies Thrill-Seekers to Space, Including Oldest Astronaut

Phys.Org, May 19, 2024

After a nearly two-year hiatus, Blue Origin flew adventurers to space on Sunday, including a former Air Force pilot who was denied the chance to be the United States' first Black astronaut decades ago.


How ECMO Is Redefining Death

New Yorker, April 30, 2024

A medical technology can keep people alive when they otherwise would have died. Where will it lead?

Will Ditching Dams Be the Coastline’s Renewal?

Hakai, May 21, 2024

In Washington State, scientists studying the Elwha River Delta in the decade since the dam came down have revealed lasting changes—and a healthier ecosystem.

New Approach Could Lead to Universal Flu Vaccine

Futurity, May 03, 2024

Researchers have opened a new avenue in the attack against influenza viruses by creating a vaccine that encourages the immune system to target a portion of the flu virus surface that is less variable.

Sucking Up Crude Oil with Laser-Treated Cork

Physics World, May 14, 2024

The authors of the latest research stumbled upon cork as a possible material for cleaning up oil spills by accident.

‘Turning Point in Energy History’ as Solar, Wind Start Pushing Fossil Fuels Off the Grid

Yale Climate Connections, May 16 2024

Renewable energy growth is “breaking records and driving ever-cleaner electricity production,” bringing the world to “a turning point where solar and wind not only slow emissions growth, but actually start to push fossil generation into decline.”


High Levels of Weedkiller Found in More Than Half of Sperm Samples, Study Finds

The Guardian, May 17, 2024

More than 55% of sperm samples from a French infertility clinic contained high levels of glyphosate, the world’s most common weedkiller, raising further questions about the chemical’s impact on reproductive health and overall safety, a new study found.

The Best Exercise to Lower Your Blood Pressure? It's Not What You Think It Is

Columbia Doctors, October 26, 2023

Aerobics aren't the only way to beat high blood pressure. A Columbia cardiologist discusses squats and other isometric exercises for heart health.

Plant-Based Diets Tied to Lower Risk of Heart Disease And Cancer

EveryDay Health, May 20, 2024

Vegetarians and vegans may be less likely to develop risk factors for these diseases, like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and obesity.

Physical and Mental Benefits of Swimming

Medical News Today, May 30, 2023

Swimming can help a person manage or lose weight, build strength, and improve breathing control. The benefits of swimming may also extend to mental health.

The Power-Building Workout

New York Times, January 22, 2024

Over the past several years, experts have increasingly recognized the importance of building power — using muscles in explosive bursts — for healthy aging.


Goose Bumps, Extra Nipples and Leftover Tails Remind Us of What We Once Were

Scientific American, May 15, 2024

These reminders —wiggling ears, tiny tails, the membranes in our eyes, and the occasional extra nipples— tell us that our ancient family is all around us, and we only need to look at our own evolutionary remnants to see family resemblances.

Scientists Solve Mystery of Ancient 'Tree of Life'

BBC News, May 15, 2024 (see images)

Baobabs are known as "the tree of life" or "upside down tree" for their strange shapes and longevity. They are in trouble because of climate change and widespread deforestation. According to DNA studies, the iconic trees first arose in Madagascar 21 million years ago.

Mysterious Holes on The Ocean Floor Have a New Explanation

Science Alert, May 21, 2024

Off the coast of Big Sur, California, deep beneath the waves, lies a mysterious landscape dotted by large holes in the clay, silt, and sand.

Decades after its discovery, scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and Stanford University think they have figured out what is forming the field's curious pattern of circles.

Sperm Whales Are Saying Far More Than We Thought. But, What Exactly Are They Talking About?

Anthropocene, May 08, 2024 (scroll down to article)

Like seasoned musicians, the whales appear to be spinning 21 basic phrases into hundreds of different variations, a new study found. The research is part of an initiative to communicate with other species.

Why Do People Make Music?

New York Times, May 15, 2024

In a new study, researchers found universal features of songs across many cultures, suggesting that music evolved in our distant ancestors.


Toxic Gaslighting: How 3M Executives Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe

ProPublica/New Yorker, May 20, 2024

Decades ago, Kris Hansen showed 3M that its PFAS chemicals were in people’s bodies. Her bosses halted her work. As the EPA now forces the removal of the chemicals from drinking water, she wrestles with the secrets that 3M kept from her and the world.

More Than a Third of Amazon Rainforest Struggling to Recover from Drought

The Guardian, May 20, 2024

‘Critical slowing down’ of recovery raises concern over forest’s resilience to ecosystem collapse

City Leaders Need to Make Billion-Dollar Decisions to Protect Boston from Sea Level Rise

The Brink, Boston University, January 31, 2024

As the Seaport neighborhood began to take shape in earnest about a decade ago, scientists at the University of Massachusetts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others, began issuing report after report about the potential dangers of rising seas.

China's Yangtze Fish-Rescue Plan Is a Failure, Study Says

Nature, May 20, 2024

Five fish species, including the iconic Chinese sturgeon, have gone extinct, or will soon be extinct, because of dams on the Yangtze River in China, according to a paper released on 10 May in Science Advances1.

Burning Trees: As the Biomass Industry Grows, Its Carbon Emissions Go Uncounted

The Revelator, May 20, 2024

Wood-pellet companies have devastated forests in the Southeast and New England. Now they’re looking to expand.


Why Young Americans Are Pushing for Climate Change to Be Taught in Schools

PBS News, May 18, 2024

As the planet warms and sea levels rise, eighty-five percent of Generation Z is concerned about climate change, according to a January Marist poll. In response, states like California, Connecticut and New Jersey are teaching kids about climate change in the classroom.

Top Oil Firms’ Climate Pledges Failing on Almost Every Metric, Report Finds

The Guardian, May 21, 2024

Oil Change International says plans do not stand up to scrutiny and describes US fossil-fuel corporations as ‘the worst of the worst’

Experts: What Are the Biggest Geopolitical Risks to Climate Action in 2024?

Climate Brief, May 20, 2024

Carbon Brief has asked a range of scientists, policy experts and campaigners from around the world what they think the biggest geopolitical risks to climate action will be in 2024.

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

AP News, May 07, 2024

In sweltering Brazil, flooding killed dozens of people and paralyzed a city of about 4 million people. Voters and politicians in India, amid national elections, are fainting in heat that hit as high as 115 degrees (46.3 degrees Celsius).

Q&A: The Dire Consequences of Global Warming in the Earth’s Oceans

Inside Climate News, May 18, 2024

Imagining a world without fish in the world’s tropical oceans

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