Science X Newsletter Week 31

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 31:

'Fool's gold' may be valuable after all

In a breakthrough new study, scientists and engineers at the University of Minnesota have electrically transformed the abundant and low-cost non-magnetic material iron sulfide, also known as "fool's gold" or pyrite, into a magnetic material.

NA62 experiment at CERN reports first evidence for ultra-rare process that could lead to new physics

Scientists at CERN have reported on their first significant evidence for a process predicted by theory, paving the way for searches for evidence of new physics in particle processes that could explain dark matter and other mysteries of the universe.

Texas cave sediment upends meteorite explanation for global cooling

Texas researchers from the University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas A&M University have discovered evidence for why the earth cooled dramatically 13,000 years ago, dropping temperatures by about 3 degrees Centigrade.

Mystery solved: Scientists trace source of Stonehenge boulders

Stonehenge, a Neolithic wonder in southern England, has vexed historians and archaeologists for centuries with its many mysteries: How was it built? What purpose did it serve? Where did its towering sandstone boulders come from?

A plunge in incoming sunlight may have triggered 'Snowball Earths'

At least twice in Earth's history, nearly the entire planet was encased in a sheet of snow and ice. These dramatic "Snowball Earth" events occurred in quick succession, somewhere around 700 million years ago, and evidence suggests that the consecutive global ice ages set the stage for the subsequent explosion of complex, multicellular life on Earth.

My talk with Jane Goodall: Vegetarianism, animal welfare and the power of children's advocacy

This month marks 60 years since Dame Jane Goodall first ventured into the wilds of Gombe, Tanzania, at the tender age of 26 to study the behavior of chimpanzees. She has devoted her life to species conservation and campaigned tirelessly for a healthier environment.

Astrophysicists observe long-theorized quantum phenomena

At the heart of every white dwarf star—the dense stellar object that remains after a star has burned away its fuel reserve of gases as it nears the end of its life cycle—lies a quantum conundrum: as white dwarfs add mass, they shrink in size, until they become so small and tightly compacted that they cannot sustain themselves, collapsing into a neutron star.

Mars-bound spaceship experiencing technical issues: NASA

Mars 2020, the spaceship carrying NASA's new rover Perseverance to the Red Planet, is experiencing technical difficulties and is running on essential systems only, the agency said Thursday.

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties

A material composed of two one-atom-thick layers of carbon has grabbed the attention of physicists worldwide for its intriguing—and potentially exploitable—conductive properties.

Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific prediction

The St. Patrick Bay ice caps on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada, have disappeared, according to NASA satellite imagery. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) scientists and colleagues predicted via a 2017 paper in The Cryosphere that the ice caps would melt out completely within the next five years, and recent images from NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction was accurate.

'Quantum negativity' can power ultra-precise measurements

Scientists have found that a physical property called 'quantum negativity' can be used to take more precise measurements of everything from molecular distances to gravitational waves.

Deep sea microbes dormant for 100 million years are hungry and ready to multiply

For decades, scientists have gathered ancient sediment samples from below the seafloor to better understand past climates, plate tectonics and the deep marine ecosystem. In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers reveal that given the right food in the right laboratory conditions, microbes collected from sediment as old as 100 million years can revive and multiply, even after laying dormant since large dinosaurs prowled the planet.

'Giant atoms' enable quantum processing and communication in one

MIT researchers have introduced a quantum computing architecture that can perform low-error quantum computations while also rapidly sharing quantum information between processors. The work represents a key advance toward a complete quantum computing platform.

Antioxidant-rich foods like black tea, chocolate, and berries may increase risk for certain cancers, new study finds

It is a fact that has long baffled doctors: Cancer in the small intestine is quite rare, whereas colorectal cancer, a neighboring though much smaller organ, is one of the leading causes of cancer death for men and women. What is it about the colon that seems to attract cancer?

Rare glassy metal discovered during quest to improve battery performance

Materials scientists studying recharging fundamentals made an astonishing discovery that could open the door to better batteries, faster catalysts and other materials science leaps.

Satellite survey shows California's sinking coastal hotspots

A majority of the world population lives on low lying lands near the sea, some of which are predicted to submerge by the end of the 21st century due to rising sea levels.

Quest advances to recreate sun's energy on earth

Fourteen years after receiving the official go-ahead, scientists on Tuesday began assembling a giant machine in southern France designed to demonstrate that nuclear fusion, the process which powers the sun, can be a safe and viable energy source on Earth.

How human sperm really swim: New research challenges centuries-old assumption

A breakthrough in fertility science by researchers from Bristol and Mexico has shattered the universally accepted view of how sperm 'swim'.

Surprising number of exoplanets could host life

Earth. A new study shows other stars could have as many as seven Earth-like planets in the absence of a gas giant like Jupiter.

Cosmic tango between the very small and the very large

While Einstein's theory of general relativity can explain a large array of fascinating astrophysical and cosmological phenomena, some aspects of the properties of the universe at the largest-scales remain a mystery. A new study using loop quantum cosmology—a theory that uses quantum mechanics to extend gravitational physics beyond Einstein's theory of general relativity—accounts for two major mysteries. While the differences in the theories occur at the tiniest of scales—much smaller than even a proton—they have consequences at the largest of accessible scales in the universe. The study, which appears online July 29 in the journal Physical Review Letters, also provides new predictions about the universe that future satellite missions could test.


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