Science X Newsletter Week 48

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 48:

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists

More than half of the climate tipping points identified a decade ago are now "active", a group of leading scientists have warned.

Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has unearthed a well-preserved Styracosaurus skull—and its facial imperfections have implications for how paleontologists identify new species of dinosaurs.

Thousands of medieval manuscripts now online in full color through digitization project

From tattoos to video games to Game of Thrones, medieval iconography has long inspired fascination, imitation and veneration. Now, thousands of original medieval manuscript and early modern images are available for free online, for scholars and aficionados to search, download and study.

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that painstakingly organized chaos, in temperatures millions of times colder than interstellar space, Kang-Kuen Ni achieved a feat of precision. Forcing two ultracold molecules to meet and react, she broke and formed the coldest bonds in the history of molecular couplings.

Planets around a black hole? Calculations show possibility of bizarre worlds

Theoreticians in two fields defied the received wisdom that planets only orbit stars like the sun. They proposed the possibility of thousands of planets around a supermassive black hole.

A fifth fundamental force could really exist, but we haven't found it yet

The universe is governed by four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. These forces drive the motion and behavior of everything we see around us. At least, that's what we think. But over the past several years, there's been increasing evidence of a fifth fundamental force. New research hasn't discovered this fifth force, but it does show that we still don't fully understand these cosmic forces.

Superconductivity theory under attack

Measurements on a superconducting material show an abrupt transition between a normal metal and a "strange" metal. The really strange thing, however, is that this abruptness disappears when the temperature falls. "We don't have any theoretical machinery for this," says theoretical physicist Jan Zaanen, coauthor of a Science article, "this is something that only a quantum computer can calculate."

Multiple sclerosis linked to variant of common herpes virus through new method

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a new method to separate between two types of a common herpes virus (HHV-6) that has been linked to multiple sclerosis (MS). By analyzing antibodies in the blood against the most divergent proteins of herpesvirus 6A and 6B, the researchers were able to show that MS patients carry the herpesvirus 6A to a greater extent than healthy individuals. The findings, published in Frontiers in Immunology, point to a role for HHV-6A in the development of MS.

Evidence for anisotropy of cosmic acceleration

The observed acceleration of the Hubble expansion rate has been attributed to a mysterious "dark energy" which supposedly makes up about 70% of the universe. Professor Subir Sarkar from the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, Oxford along with collaborators at the Institut d'Astrophysique, Paris and the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen have used observations of 740 Type Ia supernovae to show that this acceleration is a relatively local effect—it is directed along the direction we seem to be moving with respect to the cosmic microwave background (which exhibits a similar dipole anisotropy). While the physical reason for this acceleration is unknown, it cannot be ascribed to dark energy which would have caused equal acceleration in all directions.

Researchers identify protein that governs human blood stem cell self-renewal

UCLA scientists have discovered a link between a protein and the ability of human blood stem cells to self-renew. In a study published today in the journal Nature, the team reports that activating the protein causes blood stem cells to self-renew at least twelvefold in laboratory conditions.

Study finds Indigenous culture boosts children's outcomes

The research, published in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations, analysed data from Australia's Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children to better understand the link between the health and social wellbeing of Indigenous people and their connection to traditional cultures through country, kinship and knowledge.

Tsunami unleashed by Anak Krakatoa eruption was at least 100m high

The deadly volcanic eruption of Anak Krakatoa in 2018 unleashed a wave at least 100m high that could have caused widespread devastation had it been travelling in another direction, new research shows.

Coastal fog linked to high levels of mercury found in mountain lions, study finds

Marine fog brings more than cooler temperatures to coastal areas. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have discovered elevated levels of mercury in mountain lions, the latest indication that the neurotoxin is being carried in fog, deposited on the land, and making its way up the food chain.

Unravelling the venomous bite of an endangered mammal

Researchers from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) have worked with a team of scientists from institutions across the globe—to uncover the truth behind the origin of venom in some very unusual mammals.

Study shows extra virgin olive oil staves off multiple forms of dementia in mice

Boosting brain function is key to staving off the effects of aging. And if there was one thing every person should consider doing right now to keep their brain young, it is to add extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to their diet, according to research by scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM). EVOO is a superfood, rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and known for its multiple health benefits, including helping put the brakes on diseases linked to aging, most notably cardiovascular disease. Previous LKSOM research on mice also showed that EVOO preserves memory and protects the brain against Alzheimer's disease.

Our place in the universe will change dramatically in the next 50 years – here's how

In 1900, so the story goes, prominent physicist Lord Kelvin addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science with these words: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now."

The plot thickens for a hypothetical X17 particle

Fresh evidence of an unknown particle that could carry a fifth force of nature gives the NA64 collaboration at CERN a new incentive to continue searches.

Losing Nemo: clownfish 'cannot adapt to climate change'

The star of Pixar's blockbuster "Finding Nemo" may be about to vanish again—this time for good—as its peculiar mating habits put it at risk from climate change, scientists said on Tuesday.

Feeling loved in everyday life linked with improved well-being

Poets and songwriters may tend to focus their artistry on passion and romance, but it may be those unsung, brief feelings of love throughout the day that are connected with psychological well-being, according to a team of researchers led by two Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) researchers. They added that the findings could one day lead to interventions aimed at boosting well-being.

Potent antimicrobial found that shows promise in fighting staph infections

Research led by scientists from McMaster University has yielded a potent antimicrobial that works against the toughest infectious disease strains. The find could be the beginning of developing new therapeutics to combat drug-resistant infections.


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