Science X Newsletter Week 37

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 37:

High-fidelity record of Earth's climate history puts current changes in context

For the first time, climate scientists have compiled a continuous, high-fidelity record of variations in Earth's climate extending 66 million years into the past. The record reveals four distinctive climate states, which the researchers dubbed Hothouse, Warmhouse, Coolhouse, and Icehouse.

New fossil ape is discovered in India

A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon. The discovery by Christopher C. Gilbert, Hunter College, fills a major void in the ape fossil record and provides important new evidence about when the ancestors of today's gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa.

Construction begins on energy storage system relying on gravity

Gravity has been the center of wonderment for physicists, mathematicians and thinkers of all kinds for centuries.

Changing what we eat could offset years of climate-warming emissions, new analysis finds

Plant protein foods—like lentils, beans, and nuts—can provide vital nutrients using a small fraction of the land required to produce meat and dairy. By shifting to these foods, much of the remaining land could support ecosystems that absorb CO2, according to a new study appearing in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Children use both brain hemispheres to understand language, unlike adults

Infants and young children have brains with a superpower, of sorts, say Georgetown University Medical Center neuroscientists. Whereas adults process most discrete neural tasks in specific areas in one or the other of their brain's two hemispheres, youngsters use both the right and left hemispheres to do the same task. The finding suggests a possible reason why children appear to recover from neural injury much easier than adults.

Sensors of world's largest digital camera snap first 3,200-megapixel images at SLAC

Crews at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have taken the first 3,200-megapixel digital photos—the largest ever taken in a single shot—with an extraordinary array of imaging sensors that will become the heart and soul of the future camera of Vera C. Rubin Observatory.

'Wild West' mentality lingers in modern populations of US mountain regions

When historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his famous thesis on the US frontier in 1893, he described the "coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and acquisitiveness" it had forged in the American character.

When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there's remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archeology—tools, artifacts, cave art—suggest that complex technology and cultures, "behavioral modernity," evolved more recently: 50,000-65,000 years ago.

The oldest Neanderthal DNA of Central-Eastern Europe

Around 100,000 years ago, the climate changed abruptly and the environment of Central-Eastern Europe shifted from forested to open steppe/taiga habitat, promoting the dispersal of wooly mammoth, wooly rhino and other cold adapted species from the Arctic. Neanderthals living in these territories suffered severe demographic contractions due to the new ecological conditions and only returned to the areas above 48° N latitude during climatic ameliorations. However, in spite of the discontinuous settlement, specific bifacial stone tools persisted in Central-Eastern Europe from the beginning of this ecological shift until the demise of the Neanderthals. This cultural tradition is named Micoquian, and spread across the frosty environment between eastern France, Poland and the Caucasus. Previous genetic analyses showed that two major demographic turnover events in Neanderthal history are associated with the Micoquian cultural tradition. At ~90,000 years ago, western European Neanderthals replaced the local Altai Neanderthals population in Central Asia. Successively, by at least ~45,000 years ago, western European Neanderthals substituted the local groups in the Caucasus.

New Hubble data suggests there is an ingredient missing from current dark matter theories

Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have found that something may be missing from the theories of how dark matter behaves. This missing ingredient may explain why researchers have uncovered an unexpected discrepancy between observations of the dark matter concentrations in a sample of massive galaxy clusters and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed in clusters. The new findings indicate that some small-scale concentrations of dark matter produce lensing effects that are 10 times stronger than expected.

The mystery of the neutron lifetime

Nine seconds. An eternity in some scientific experiments; an unimaginably small amount in the grand scheme of the universe. And just long enough to confound nuclear physicists studying the lifetime of the neutron.

Physicists use classical concepts to decipher strange quantum behaviors in an ultracold gas

There they were, in all their weird quantum glory: ultracold lithium atoms in the optical trap operated by UC Santa Barbara undergraduate student Alec Cao and his colleagues in David Weld's atomic physics group. Held by lasers in a regular, lattice formation and "driven" by pulses of energy, these atoms were doing crazy things.

Computational modelling explains why blues and greens are brightest colors in nature

Researchers have shown why intense, pure red colors in nature are mainly produced by pigments, instead of the structural color that produces bright blue and green hues.

'Mighty mice' stay musclebound in space, boon for astronauts

Bulked-up, mutant "mighty mice" held onto their muscle during a monthlong stay at the International Space Station, returning to Earth with ripped bodybuilder physiques, scientists reported Monday.

Australian telescope finds no signs of alien technology in 10 million star systems

A radio telescope in outback Western Australia has completed the deepest and broadest search at low frequencies for alien technologies, scanning a patch of sky known to include at least 10 million stars.

Quirky response to magnetism presents quantum physics mystery

The search is on to discover new states of matter, and possibly new ways of encoding, manipulating, and transporting information. One goal is to harness materials' quantum properties for communications that go beyond what's possible with conventional electronics. Topological insulators—materials that act mostly as insulators but carry electric current across their surface—provide some tantalizing possibilities.

Strongest magnetic field in universe directly detected by X-ray space observatory

The Insight-HXMT team has performed extensive observations of the accreting X-ray pulsar GRO J1008-57 and has discovered a magnetic field of ~1 billion Tesla on the surface of the neutron star. This is the strongest magnetic field conclusively detected in the universe. This work, published in the Astrophysical Journal, was primarily conducted by scientists from the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany.

New computational model stands to make nuclear magnetic resonance an even more powerful tool for researchers

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed a new computational model that has opened up the potential to make one of their most powerful research tools even more so.

The mathematical values of Linear A fraction signs

A recent study by a team based at the University of Bologna, published in the Journal of Archeological Science, has shed new light on the Minoan system of fractions, one of the outstanding enigmas tied to the ancient writing of numbers.

Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5 C warming limit by 2024, major new report says

The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century. A new report by the World Meteorological Organization warns this limit may be exceeded by 2024—and the risk is growing.


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