Science X Newsletter Week 02

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 02:

World's oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia

Archaeologists have discovered the world's oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia.

Worried about Earth's future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

Mistaken identity: A presumed supernova is actually something much rarer

In a case of comic mistaken identity, an international team of astronomers revealed that what they once thought was a supernova is actually periodic flaring from a galaxy where a supermassive black hole gives off bursts of energy every 114 days as it tears off chunks of an orbiting star.

Scientists identify contents of ancient Maya drug containers

Scientists have identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time.

Melting icebergs key to sequence of an ice age, scientists find

Scientists claim to have found the 'missing link' in the process that leads to an ice age on Earth.

New state of matter in one-dimensional quantum gas

As the story goes, the Greek mathematician and tinkerer Archimedes came across an invention while traveling through ancient Egypt that would later bear his name. It was a machine consisting of a screw housed inside a hollow tube that trapped and drew water upon rotation. Now, researchers led by Stanford University physicist Benjamin Lev have developed a quantum version of Archimedes' screw that, instead of water, hauls fragile collections of gas atoms to higher and higher energy states without collapsing. Their discovery is detailed in a paper published Jan. 14 in Science.

Earth to reach temperature tipping point in next 20 to 30 years, new study finds

Earth's ability to absorb nearly a third of human-caused carbon emissions through plants could be halved within the next two decades at the current rate of warming, according to a new study in Science Advances by researchers at Northern Arizona University, the Woodwell Climate Research Center and the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Using more than two decades of data from measurement towers in every major biome across the globe, the team identified a critical temperature tipping point beyond which plants' ability to capture and store atmospheric carbon—a cumulative effect referred to as the "land carbon sink"—decreases as temperatures continue to rise.

'Galaxy-sized' observatory sees potential hints of gravitational waves

Scientists have used a "galaxy-sized" space observatory to find possible hints of a unique signal from gravitational waves, or the powerful ripples that course through the universe and warp the fabric of space and time itself.

Discovery of quantum behavior in insulators suggests possible new particle

In a surprising discovery, Princeton physicists have observed an unexpected quantum behavior in an insulator made from a material called tungsten ditelluride. This phenomenon, known as quantum oscillation, is typically observed in metals rather than insulators, and its discovery offers new insights into our understanding of the quantum world. The findings also hint at the existence of an entirely new type of quantum particle.

Examination of Theia 456 finds its nearly 500 stars were born at same time

The Milky Way houses 8,292 recently discovered stellar streams—all named Theia. But Theia 456 is special.

RIP: Mars digger bites the dust after 2 years on red planet

NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature.

The dire wolf was a distinct species, different from the gray wolf, biologists discover

The iconic, prehistoric dire wolf, which prowled through Los Angeles and elsewhere in the Americas over 11 millennia ago, was a distinct species from the slightly smaller gray wolf, an international team of scientists reports today in the journal Nature.

Most distant quasar discovered sheds light on how black holes grow

A team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona has observed a luminous quasar 13.03 billion light-years from Earth—the most distant quasar discovered to date. Dating back to 670 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only 5% its current age, the quasar hosts a supermassive black hole equivalent to the combined mass of 1.6 billion suns.

Pet food recall expands after 70 dogs die from mold toxin

There's an expanded nationwide recall of Sportmix pet food products underway, after links were found between a mold-borne toxin in the food and the deaths of 70 dogs, with 80 other dogs being sickened, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

New Horizons spacecraft answers the question: How dark is space?

How dark is the sky, and what does that tell us about the number of galaxies in the visible universe? Astronomers can estimate the total number of galaxies by counting everything visible in a Hubble deep field and then multiplying them by the total area of the sky. But other galaxies are too faint and distant to directly detect. Yet while we can't count them, their light suffuses space with a feeble glow.

Researchers find Mars has a Chandler wobble

A combined team of researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and the Royal Observatory of Belgium, has found evidence that Mars has a Chandler wobble. In their paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the group describes their study of decades of data from Mars probes and what it showed them.

Engineers observe avalanches in nanoparticles for the first time

Researchers at Columbia Engineering report today that they have developed the first nanomaterial that demonstrates "photon avalanching," a process that is unrivaled in its combination of extreme nonlinear optical behavior and efficiency. The realization of photon avalanching in nanoparticle form opens up a host of sought-after applications, from real-time super-resolution optical microscopy, precise temperature and environmental sensing, and infrared light detection, to optical analog-to-digital conversion and quantum sensing.

Scientists make sustainable polymer from sugars in wood

Scientists from the University of Bath have made a sustainable polymer using the second most abundant sugar in nature, xylose.

Turn off that camera during virtual meetings, environmental study says

It's not just to hide clutter anymore—add "saving the planet" to the reasons you leave the camera off during your next virtual meeting.

Measurements of pulsar acceleration reveal Milky Way's dark side

It is well known that the expansion of the universe is accelerating due to a mysterious dark energy. Within galaxies, stars also experience an acceleration, though this is due to some combination of dark matter and the stellar density. In a new study to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters researchers have now obtained the first direct measurement of the average acceleration taking place within our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Led by Sukanya Chakrabarti at the Institute for Advanced Study with collaborators from Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the team used pulsar data to clock the radial and vertical accelerations of stars within and outside of the galactic plane. Based on these new high-precision measurements and the known amount of visible matter in the galaxy, researchers were then able to calculate the Milky Way's dark matter density without making the usual assumption that the galaxy is in a steady-state.


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