Science X Newsletter Week 48

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 48:

Leaf-cutter ant first insect found with biomineral body armour

A well-known leaf-cutting ant grows its own body armour using biominerals, a protective power previously unknown in the insect world, scientists have discovered in research published Tuesday showing this makes the ants almost unbeatable in battle.

Amateur astronomer Alberto Caballero finds possible source of Wow! signal

Amateur astronomer and YouTuber Alberto Caballero, one of the founders of The Exoplanets Channel, has found a small amount of evidence for a source of the notorious Wow! signal. In his paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, Caballero describes searching the Gaia database for possible sun-like stars that might host an exoplanet capable of supporting intelligent life.

Melting ice patch in Norway reveals large collection of ancient arrows

A team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions in Norway and one in the U.K., has unveiled their findings after collecting and studying a very large number of ancient arrows they found near a melting ice patch in Norway's Jotunheimen Mountains. In their paper published in the journal The Holocene, the group describes how they kept their research secret to avoid the possibility of others contaminating the site and what they have learned about the arrows thus far.

Neutrinos yield first experimental evidence of catalyzed fusion dominant in many stars

An international team of about 100 scientists of the Borexino Collaboration, including particle physicist Andrea Pocar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, report in Nature this week detection of neutrinos from the sun, directly revealing for the first time that the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) fusion-cycle is at work in our sun.

New Hubble data explains missing dark matter

New data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides further evidence for tidal disruption in the galaxy NGC 1052-DF4. This result explains a previous finding that this galaxy is missing most of its dark matter. By studying the galaxy's light and globular cluster distribution, astronomers have concluded that the gravity forces of the neighbouring galaxy NGC 1035 stripped the dark matter from NGC 1052-DF4 and are now tearing the galaxy apart.

Unprecedented accuracy in quantum electrodynamics: Giant leap toward solving proton charge radius puzzle

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have tested quantum mechanics to a completely new level of precision using hydrogen spectroscopy, and in doing so they came much closer to solving the well-known proton charge radius puzzle.

Research creates hydrogen-producing living droplets, paving way for alternative future energy source

Scientists have built tiny droplet-based microbial factories that produce hydrogen, instead of oxygen, when exposed to daylight in air.

Galaxy survives black hole's feast—for now

Black holes are thought to gobble up so much surrounding material that they put an end to the life of their host galaxy. In that process they create a highly energetic object called a quasar which was previously thought to halt star birth. Now researchers have found a galaxy that is surviving the ravenous forces of a quasar by continuing to birth new stars –about 100 Sun-sized stars a year.

Narcolepsy fiasco spurs Covid vaccine fears in Sweden

Take a vaccine developed in haste? Never again, says Meissa Chebbi, who, like hundreds of other young Swedes suffered debilitating narcolepsy after a mass vaccination campaign against the 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic.

Japan spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples nears home

A Japanese spacecraft is nearing Earth after a yearlong journey home from a distant asteroid with soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, a space agency official said Friday.

Study of partial left femur suggests Sahelanthropus tchadensis was not a hominin after all

A small team of researchers from France, Italy and the U.S., has found evidence that suggests Sahelanthropus tchadensis was not a hominin, and thus was not the earliest known human ancestor. In their paper published in Journal of Human Evolution, the group describes their study of the fossilized leg bone and what it showed them.

Earth faster, closer to black hole in new map of galaxy

Earth just got 7 km/s faster and about 2000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. But don't worry, this doesn't mean that our planet is plunging towards the black hole. Instead the changes are results of a better model of the Milky Way Galaxy based on new observation data, including a catalog of objects observed over the course of more than 15 years by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA.

Trillion-transistor chip breaks speed record

The biggest computer chip in the world is so fast and powerful it can predict future actions "faster than the laws of physics produce the same result."

Physicist creates N95-type respirators using cotton candy machine

Mahesh Bandi, a physicist with the Nonlinear and Non-equilibrium Physics Unit, OIST Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa, has found a way to produce N95-type respirator filters that is less expensive and quicker than conventional approaches. In his paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, he describes the technique he developed and how well his filters performed.

Using artificial intelligence to help drones find people lost in the woods

A trio of researchers at Johannes Kepler University has used artificial intelligence to improve thermal imaging camera searches of people lost in the woods. In their paper published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, David Schedl, Indrajit Kurmi and Oliver Bimber, describe how they applied a deep learning network to the problem of people lost in the woods and how well it worked.

Study revealing the secret behind a key cellular process refutes biology textbooks

New research has identified and described a cellular process that, despite what textbooks say, has remained elusive to scientists until now—precisely how the copying of genetic material that, once started, is properly turned off.

Europe signs $102M deal to bring space trash home

The European Space Agency says it is signing a 86 million-euro ($102 million) contract with a Swiss start-up company to bring a large piece of orbital trash back to Earth.

A hint of new physics in polarized radiation from the early universe

Using Planck data from the cosmic microwave background radiation, an international team of researchers has observed a hint of new physics. The team developed a new method to measure the polarization angle of the ancient light by calibrating it with dust emission from our own Milky Way. While the signal is not detected with enough precision to draw definite conclusions, it may suggest that dark matter or dark energy causes a violation of the so-called "parity symmetry."

Charles Darwin notebooks 'stolen' from Cambridge University

Two of Charles Darwin's notebooks containing his pioneering ideas on evolution and his famous "Tree of Life" sketch are missing, believed stolen, the Cambridge University Library said on Tuesday.

New mechanism of pain control revealed

Researchers in Japan have revealed a previously unknown mechanism for pain control involving a newly identified group of cells in the spinal cord, offering a potential target for enhancing the therapeutic effect of drugs for chronic pain.


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