DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists

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Dear Readers,

I'm delighted that Quanta Magazine is once again a finalist in the Webby Awards, this time in two categories: Best Science Website and Best Writing (Editorial). I'm proud of the entire team here — what an honor to be nominated alongside such a stellar group of finalists. If you think Quanta should be recognized for its science journalism and writing, please vote for us at the links below:
 

Thomas Lin
Editor in Chief

GENOMICS | ALL TOPICS

 

DNA of Giant 'Corpse Flower' Parasite Surprises Biologists

By CHRISTIE WILCOX

The bizarre genome of the world's most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.

Read the article

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

 

Latest Neural Nets
Solve Hardest Equations
Faster Than Ever

By ANIL ANANTHASWAMY

Two new approaches allow deep neural networks to solve entire families of partial differential equations, making it easier and faster to model complicated systems.

Read the article

Related: 
Symbolic Mathematics Finally Yields
to Neural Networks

by Stephen Ornes (2020)

EXPLAINERS

 

How Maxwell's
Demon Continues to Startle Scientists

By JONATHAN O'CALLAGHAN

The thorny thought experiment has been turned into a real experiment — one that physicists use to probe the physics of information.

Read the blog post

Related: 
How Claude Shannon Invented
the Future

by David Tse (2020)

INSIGHTS PUZZLE

 

The Puzzling Power of Simple Arithmetic

By PRADEEP MUTALIK

Playing with arithmetic can lead us to unexpected and profound discoveries that point toward deeper mathematics and sometimes even deeper science.

Solve the puzzle

Related: 
The Simple Math Problem We Still
Can't Solve

by Patrick Honner (2020)

THE JOY OF X

 

Melanie Mitchell Takes AI Back to Its Roots

Hosted by STEVEN STROGATZ;
Produced by DANA BIALEK

To build a general artificial intelligence, we may need to know more about our own minds, argues the computer scientist.

Listen to the podcast

Read the transcript

 

Around the Web

Forty Winks
Not getting enough shut-eye looks worse and worse for the brain. Those who sleep less than six hours a night in middle age are about 30% more likely to develop dementia in their 70s, Pam Belluck reports for The New York Times. These new results stand alongside earlier work that showed extreme sleep deprivation can even kill. And studies of flies and mice have shown that the trouble often doesn't start in the brain, but in the gut, Veronique Greenwood reported for Quanta in 2020.

Neutron Stars Get a Core Workout
The cores of neutron stars may be unexpectedly hard, with their quarks spilling from their neutrons but not flying entirely free, Emily Conover reports for Science News. It's the latest turn in a long debate about what matter does when squeezed to its absolute limits. Gravitational waves are also offering a glimpse into the innards of neutron stars, as Josh Sokol reported for Quanta in 2017.
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