Science X Newsletter Week 26

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 26:

Experiment confirms 50-year-old theory describing how an alien civilization could exploit a black hole

A 50-year-old theory that began as speculation about how an alien civilization could use a black hole to generate energy has been experimentally verified for the first time in a Glasgow research lab.

The Arctic is on fire: Siberian heat wave alarms scientists

The Arctic is feverish and on fire—at least parts of it are. And that's got scientists worried about what it means for the rest of the world.

Scientists provide new explanation for the strange asymmetry of the moon

The Earth‐moon system's history remains mysterious. Scientists believe the system formed when a Mars‐sized body collided with the proto‐Earth. Earth ended up being the larger daughter of this collision and retained enough heat to become tectonically active. The moon, being smaller, likely cooled down faster and geologically froze. The apparent early dynamism of the moon challenges this idea.

Astronomers discover 'monster' quasar from early universe

Astronomers have discovered the most massive quasar known in the early universe, containing a monster black hole with a mass equivalent to 1.5 billion suns. Formally designated as J1007+2115, the newly discovered quasar is one of only two known from the same cosmological period. Quasars are the most energetic objects in the universe, and since their discovery, astronomers have been keen to determine when they first appeared in our cosmic history.

Scientists produce first open source all-atom models of COVID-19 'spike' protein

The virus SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the known cause of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The "spike" or S protein facilitates viral entry into host cells.

Scientists find huge ring of ancient shafts near Stonehenge

Archaeologists said Monday that they have discovered a major prehistoric monument under the earth near Stonehenge that could shed new light on the origins of the mystical stone circle in southwestern England.

700-km Brazil 'megaflash' sets lightning record: UN

The UN's weather agency announced Thursday the longest lightning bolt on record—a single flash in Brazil on October 31, 2018 that cut the sky across more than 700 kilometers.

How conspiracy theories emerge—and how their storylines fall apart

A new study by UCLA professors offers a new way to understand how unfounded conspiracy theories emerge online. The research, which combines sophisticated artificial intelligence and a deep knowledge of how folklore is structured, explains how unrelated facts and false information can connect into a narrative framework that would quickly fall apart if some of those elements are taken out of the mix.

CERN Council endorses building larger supercollider

The CERN Council has unanimously endorsed the idea of building a newer, larger circular supercollider, dubbed the Future Circular Collider (FCC). The group made the announcement on June 19. The move is the first step toward building a 100 TeV 100-kilometer circumference collider around Geneva. As part of the vote, the group approved the launch of a technical and financial feasibility study for the new collider.

An experiment suggested by a Ph.D. student may rewrite chemistry textbooks

Ryan McMullen had never heard of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences when he started casting about for a graduate chemistry program. But on the recommendation of one of his professors, he sent an email to the College's Professor of Chemistry Stephen Bradforth proposing an experiment to tease out what makes a metal really a metal.

Theorists calculate upper limit for possible quantization of time

A trio of theoretical physicists at the Pennsylvania State University has calculated the upper limit for the possible quantization of time—they suggest 10−33 seconds as the upper limit for the period of a universal oscillator. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Garrett Wendel, Luis Martínez and Martin Bojowald outline their theory and suggest a possible way to prove it.

Four new species of giant single-celled organisms discovered on Pacific seafloor

Two new genera and four new species of giant, single-celled xenophyophores (protozoans belonging to a group called the foraminifera) were discovered in the deep Pacific Ocean during a joint project between scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, UK (NOC), the University of Hawai'i, and the University of Geneva. 'Moana' has inspired the name Moanammina for one of the new genera, while the second has been named Abyssalia in recognition of its abyssal habitat.

One-time treatment generates new neurons, eliminates Parkinson's disease in mice

Xiang-Dong Fu, Ph.D., has never been more excited about something in his entire career. He has long studied the basic biology of RNA, a genetic cousin of DNA, and the proteins that bind it. But a single discovery has launched Fu into a completely new field: neuroscience.

Ancient Maya reservoirs contained toxic pollution: study

Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable.

CERN experiment makes first observation of rare events producing three massive force carriers

Modern physics knows a great deal about how the universe works, from the grand scale of galaxies down to the infinitesimally small size of quarks and gluons. Still, the answers to some major mysteries, such as the nature of dark matter and origin of gravity, have remained out of reach.

Positive YouTube videos of wolves linked to greater tolerance

A new study from North Carolina State University suggests that people have more tolerance for wolves after seeing positive videos about them, which could make YouTube an important wolf conservation tool.

Genetic study of Arabian horses challenges some common beliefs about the ancient breed

A study involving Arabian horses from 12 countries found that some populations maintained a larger degree of genetic diversity and that the breed did not contribute genetically to the modern-day Thoroughbred, contrary to popular thought.

Introducing a new isotope: Mendelevium-244

A team of scientists working at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has discovered a new form of the human-made element mendelevium. The newly created isotope, mendelevium-244, is the 17th and lightest form of mendelevium, which is element 101 on the periodic table.

300-million-year-old fish resembles a sturgeon but took a different evolutionary path

Sturgeon, a long-lived, bottom-dwelling fish, are often described as "living fossils," owing to the fact that their form has remained relatively constant, despite hundreds of millions of years of evolution.

Initial COVID-19 infection rate may be 80 times greater than originally reported

Many epidemiologists believe that the initial COVID-19 infection rate was undercounted due to testing issues, asymptomatic and alternatively symptomatic individuals, and a failure to identify early cases.

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