Science X Newsletter Week 01

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 01:

Researchers build a particle accelerator that fits on a chip

On a hillside above Stanford University, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory operates a scientific instrument nearly 2 miles long. In this giant accelerator, a stream of electrons flows through a vacuum pipe, as bursts of microwave radiation nudge the particles ever-faster forward until their velocity approaches the speed of light, creating a powerful beam that scientists from around the world use to probe the atomic and molecular structures of inorganic and biological materials.

Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago

"The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170 thousand years ago," says Professor Lyn Wadley, a scientist from the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (Wits ESI). "This discovery is much older than earlier reports for cooking similar plants and it provides a fascinating insight into the behavioural practices of early modern humans in southern Africa. It also implies that they shared food and used wooden sticks to extract plants from the ground."

A new mathematical model predicts a knot's stability

In sailing, rock climbing, construction, and any activity requiring the securing of ropes, certain knots are known to be stronger than others. Any seasoned sailor knows, for instance, that one type of knot will secure a sheet to a headsail, while another is better for hitching a boat to a piling.

Scientists find evidence that Venus has active volcanoes

New research led by Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and published today in Science Advances shows that lava flows on Venus may be only a few years old, suggesting that Venus could be volcanically active today—making it the only planet in our solar system, other than Earth, with recent eruptions.

A quantum breakthrough brings a technique from astronomy to the nano-scale

Researchers at Columbia University and University of California, San Diego, have introduced a novel "multi-messenger" approach to quantum physics that signifies a technological leap in how scientists can explore quantum materials.

Supercharging tomorrow: Team develops world's most efficient lithium-sulfur battery

Imagine having access to a battery, which has the potential to power your phone for five continuous days, or enable an electric vehicle to drive more than 1000km without needing to "refuel".

First evidence found of tool use by seabirds

Three researchers from the University of Oxford and the South Iceland Nature Research Centre have found evidence of tool use by puffins—the first evidence of tool use by any seabird. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annette Fayet, Erpur Snær Hansen and Dora Biro describe their evidence of puffins using sticks to scratch a part of their body.

Researchers learn more about teen-age T.Rex

Without a doubt, Tyrannosaurus rex is the most famous dinosaur in the world. The 40-foot-long predator with bone crushing teeth inside a five-foot long head are the stuff of legend. Now, a look within the bones of two mid-sized, immature T. rex allow scientists to learn about the tyrant king's terrible teens as well.

Scientists pin down timing of lunar dynamo's demise

A conventional compass would be of little use on the moon, which today lacks a global magnetic field.

New study estimates the global extent of river ice loss as Earth warms

More than half of Earth's rivers freeze over every year. These frozen rivers support important transportation networks for communities and industries located at high latitudes. Ice cover also regulates the amount of greenhouse gasses released from rivers into Earth's atmosphere.

GMRT discovers a gigantic ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy

A team of astronomers at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, India have discovered a mysterious ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The ring is much bigger than the galaxy it surrounds and has a diameter of about 380,000 light-years (about 4 times that of our Milky Way).

How the extinction of Ice Age mammals may have forced humans to invent civilization

Why did we take so long to invent civilization? Modern Homo sapiens first evolved roughly 250,000 to 350,000 years ago. But initial steps towards civilization—harvesting, then domestication of crop plants—began only around 10,000 years ago, with the first civilizations appearing 6,400 years ago.

Engrams emerging as the basic unit of memory

Though scientist Richard Semon introduced the concept of the "engram" 115 years ago to posit a neural basis for memory, direct evidence for engrams has only begun to accumulate recently as sophisticated technologies and methods have become available. In a new review in Science, Professors Susumu Tonegawa of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT and Sheena Josselyn of the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto describe the rapid progress they and colleagues have been making over the last dozen years in identifying, characterizing and even manipulating engrams, as well as the major outstanding questions of the field.

Researchers advance performance benchmark for quantum computers

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a quantum chemistry simulation benchmark to evaluate the performance of quantum devices and guide the development of applications for future quantum computers.

Delivering TB vaccine intravenously dramatically improves potency, study shows

Worldwide, more people die from tuberculosis (TB) than any other infectious disease, even though the vast majority were vaccinated. The vaccine just isn't that reliable. But a new Nature study finds that simply changing the way the vaccine is administered could dramatically boost its protective power.

Evidence suggests ancient impact crater buried under Bolaven volcanic field

A team of researchers with members from Singapore, the U.S., Thailand and Laos has concluded that the impact point of a meteorite that struck the Earth approximately 790,000 years ago lies buried beneath a volcanic field in southern Laos. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group outlines four lines of evidence that point to the Bolaven volcanic field as the likely site of the meteorite strike.

Alzheimer 'tau' protein far surpasses amyloid in predicting toll on brain tissue

Brain imaging of pathological tau-protein "tangles" reliably predicts the location of future brain atrophy in Alzheimer's patients a year or more in advance, according to a new study by scientists at the UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center. In contrast, the location of amyloid "plaques," which have been the focus of Alzheimer's research and drug development for decades, was found to be of little utility in predicting how damage would unfold as the disease progressed.

Astronomers say SpaceX's satellites are too bright in the sky. Friday's launch will try to fix that

They were seen sparkling across the skies of Montana right around Christmas: a tidy row of lights that some mistook to be UFOs. The glowing celestial train has been spotted in California, Texas, in the Netherlands and even Chile.

Fat-dissolving bile acids may help regulate gut immunity and inflammation

Could bile acids—the fat-dissolving juices churned out by the liver and gallbladder—also play a role in immunity and inflammation?

Study confirms climate change impacted Hurricane Florence's precipitation and size

A study led by Kevin Reed, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, and published in Science Advances, found that Hurricane Florence produced more extreme rainfall and was spatially larger due to human-induced climate change.


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