Science X Newsletter Week 39

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 39:

Astronomers discover an Earth-sized 'pi planet' with a 3.14-day orbit

In a delightful alignment of astronomy and mathematics, scientists at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a "pi Earth"—an Earth-sized planet that zips around its star every 3.14 days, in an orbit reminiscent of the universal mathematics constant.

Ecologists confirm Alan Turing's theory for Australian fairy circles

Fairy circles are one of nature's greatest enigmas and most visually stunning phenomena. An international research team led by the University of Göttingen has now, for the first time, collected detailed data to show that Alan Turing's model explains the striking vegetation patterns of the Australian fairy circles. In addition, the researchers showed that the grasses that make up these patterns act as "eco-engineers" to modify their own hostile and arid environment, thus keeping the ecosystem functioning. The results were published in the Journal of Ecology.

Surgical, N95 masks block most particles, homemade cloth masks release their own

Laboratory tests of surgical and N95 masks by researchers at the University of California, Davis, show that they do cut down the amount of aerosolized particles emitted during breathing, talking and coughing. Tests of homemade cloth face coverings, however, show that the fabric itself releases a large amount of fibers into the air, underscoring the importance of washing them. The work is published today (Sept. 24) in Scientific Reports.

Why there is no speed limit in the superfluid universe

Physicists from Lancaster University have established why objects moving through superfluid helium-3 lack a speed limit in a continuation of earlier Lancaster research.

Adequate levels of vitamin D reduces complications, death among COVID-19 patients

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D sufficient, with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL (a measure of vitamin D status), had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes including becoming unconscious, hypoxia (body starved for oxygen) and death. In addition, they had lower blood levels of an inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) and higher blood levels of lymphocytes (a type of immune cell to help fight infection).

Discovery of a druggable pocket in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein could stop virus in its tracks

A druggable pocket in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that could be used to stop the virus from infecting human cells has been discovered by an international team of scientists led by the University of Bristol. The researchers say their findings, published today in the journal Science, are a potential 'game changer' in defeating the current pandemic and add that small molecule anti-viral drugs developed to target the pocket they discovered could help eliminate COVID-19.

Young physicist 'squares the numbers' on time travel

Paradox-free time travel is theoretically possible, according to the mathematical modeling of a prodigious University of Queensland undergraduate student.

New analysis of black hole reveals a wobbling shadow

In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration delivered the first image of a black hole, revealing M87*—the supermassive object in the center of the M87 galaxy. The team has now used the lessons learned last year to analyze the archival data sets from 2009-2013, some of them not published before.

Metformin treatment linked to slowed cognitive decline

Metformin is the first-line treatment for most cases of type 2 diabetes and one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide, with millions of individuals using it to optimize their blood glucose levels.

Rosetta spacecraft detects unexpected ultraviolet aurora at a comet

Data from Southwest Research Institute-led instruments aboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft have helped reveal auroral emissions in the far ultraviolet around a comet for the first time.

Unusual climate conditions influenced WWI mortality and subsequent Spanish flu pandemic

Scientists have spotted a once-in-a-century climate anomaly during World War I that likely increased mortality during the war and the influenza pandemic in the years that followed.

Researchers show conscious processes in birds' brains for the first time

By measuring brain signals, a neuroscience research group at the University of Tübingen has demonstrated for the first time that corvid songbirds possess subjective experiences. Simultaneously recording behavior and brain activity enabled the group headed by Professor Andreas Nieder to show that crows are capable of consciously perceiving sensory input. Until now this type of consciousness has only been witnessed in humans and other primates, which have completely different brain structures to birds. "The results of our study opens up a new way of looking at the evolution of awareness and its neurobiological constraints," says Nieder. The study has been published in the journal Science on September 24, 2020.

Researchers identify new type of superconductor

Until now, the history of superconducting materials has been a tale of two types: s-wave and d-wave.

Scientists predict potential spread, habitat of invasive Asian giant hornet

Researchers at Washington State University have predicted how and where the Asian giant hornet, an invasive newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, popularly dubbed the "murder hornet," could spread and find ideal habitat, both in the United States and globally.

New measurements show moon has hazardous radiation levels

Future moon explorers will be bombarded with two to three times more radiation than astronauts aboard the International Space Station, a health hazard that will require thick-walled shelters for protection, scientists reported Friday.

The first ultra-hot Neptune, LTT 9779b, is one of nature's improbable planets

An international team of astronomers, including a group from the University of Warwick, have discovered the first Ultra Hot Neptune planet orbiting the nearby star LTT 9779.

Wolves have been caring for the pack for at least 1.3 million years

Wolves today live and hunt in packs, which helps them take down large prey. But when did this group behavior evolve? An international research team has reported specimens of an ancestral wolf, Canis chihliensis, from the Ice Age of north China (~1.3 million years ago), with debilitating injuries to the jaws and leg. The wolf survived these injuries long enough to heal, supporting the likelihood of food-sharing and family care in this early canine.

Major wind-driven ocean currents are shifting toward the poles

The severe droughts in the USA and Australia are the first sign that the tropics, and their warm temperatures, are apparently expanding in the wake of climate change. But until now, scientists have been unable to conclusively explain the reasons for this, because they were mostly focusing on atmospheric processes. Now, experts at the AWI have solved the puzzle: the alarming expansion of the tropics is not caused by processes in the atmosphere, but quite simply by warming subtropical ocean.

Researchers find genetic signature of ancient MacDougall bloodline

Genetic markers for the Clan MacDougall have been discovered by Genealogy researchers at the University of Strathclyde.

Scientists discover why tarantulas come in vivid blues and greens

Why are some tarantulas so vividly colored? Scientists have puzzled over why these large, hairy spiders, active primarily during the evening and at night-time, would sport such vibrant blue and green colouration—especially as they were long thought to be unable to differentiate between colors, let alone possess true color vision.


This email is a free service of Science X Network
You received this email because you subscribed to our list.
If you do not wish to receive such emails in the future, please unsubscribe here.
You are subscribed as phys.org@quicklydone.com. You may manage your subscription options from your Science X profile

ga