Science Daily: Top Science News. 31 October 2018.

Science Daily: Top Science News. 31 October 2018.

Accessed on 31 October 2018, 1549 UTC.

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Comment:  Here are today’s top science stories from “Science Daily”.  Views expressed in this news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Thanks for joining us today.

Until next time,

Russ Roberts

Posted: 30 Oct 2018 09:19 AM PDT
The silk fibers produced by Bombyx mori, the domestic silkworm, has been prized for millennia as a strong yet lightweight and luxurious material. Although synthetic polymers like nylon and polyester are less costly, they do not compare to silk’s natural qualities and mechanical properties. And according to new research, silk combined with carbon nanotubes may lead to a new generation of biomedical devices and so-called transient, biodegradable electronics.


Posted: 30 Oct 2018 09:19 AM PDT
Scientists have completed the first 3D virtual reconstruction of the ribcage of the most complete Neanderthal skeleton unearthed to date. Using CT scans of fossils from an approximately 60,000-year-old male skeleton, researchers were able to create a 3D model of the chest — one that is different from the longstanding image of the barrel-chested, hunched-over ‘caveman.’


Posted: 30 Oct 2018 08:44 AM PDT
Researchers have delved into the realm of Star Wars and created a powerful tractor beam — or light-driven energy trap — for atoms.


Posted: 30 Oct 2018 08:06 AM PDT
When the male bearded manakin snaps its wings at lightning speed, it’s more than part of an elaborate, acrobatic mating ritual. The tiny muscle doing the heavy lifting is also the reason this exotic bird has evolved into four distinct species, according to new research.


Posted: 30 Oct 2018 06:14 AM PDT
For the first time, an Australian team has combined two fundamental quantum techniques on an integrated silicon platform, confirming the promise of silicon — the basis of all modern computer chips — for quantum computing.


Posted: 29 Oct 2018 01:46 PM PDT
Species of reptiles, amphibians and other vertebrates are becoming extinct in Haiti as deforestation has claimed more than 99 percent of the country’s original wooded areas.


Posted: 29 Oct 2018 01:46 PM PDT
Scientists have created microorganisms that may recapitulate key features of organisms thought to have lived billions of years ago.


Posted: 29 Oct 2018 12:09 PM PDT
Researchers have determined that the Nez Perce grew and smoked tobacco at least 1,200 years ago, long before the arrival of traders and settlers from the eastern United States. Their finding upends a long-held view that indigenous people in this area of the interior Pacific Northwest smoked only kinnikinnick or bearberry before traders brought tobacco starting around 1790.


Posted: 29 Oct 2018 10:52 AM PDT
Dramatic increases in wildfire over the last few decades have garnered considerable media attention. Numerous headlines have claimed that the amount of wildfire in the western US is unprecedented. However, scientists have now compiled long-term fire datasets that demonstrate the amount of wildfire occurring in the western US remains far below the acreage burning prior to pre-European settlement.


Posted: 29 Oct 2018 10:09 AM PDT
The electricity requirements of Bitcoin have created considerable difficulties, and extensive online discussion, about where to put the facilities or rings that compute the proof-of-work of Bitcoin. A somewhat less discussed issue is the environmental impacts of producing all that electricity.


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