Welcome to a “Discover Magazine” update from Hawaii Science Digest. Views expressed in this science and technology summary are those of the reporters and correspondents. Content supplied by “Discover Magazine.” Accessed on 08 May 2019, 1555 UTC.
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New study reveals “extraordinary change” in El Niño possibly linked to climate change
In a first, researchers have used chemical fingerprints locked within coral skeletons to build a season-by-season record of El Niño episodes dating back 400 years — a feat many experts regarded as impossible.
That record, presented in a new study appearing in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience, reveals an “extraordinary change” in the behavior of El Niño, according to the researchers. That shift “has serious implications for societies and ecosystems around the world.”
To c …
Study Uncovers How Coca-Cola Influences Science Research
Coca-Cola has poured millions of dollars into scientific research at universities. But if the beverage giant doesn’t like what scientists find, the company has the power to make sure that their research never sees the light of day.
That’s according to an analysis published in the Journal of Public Health Policy that explains how Coca-Cola uses contract agreements to influence the public health research it financially supports.
The paper explains that Coca-Cola uses carefully-c …
CITIZEN SCIENCE SALON
#CitSciDay2019: Global Community
Citizen Science Day 2019 (#CitSciDay2019) results prove that all of us can make huge contributions to research.
Citizen Science Day is an annual celebration presented by SciStarter and the Citizen Science Association in an effort to connect people to real research in need of their help. It taps the curiosity and observations of people to contribute to significant scientific research efforts.
This year, the featured event of #CitSciDay2019 was the StallCatchers #Megathon, a gamifie …
SNAPSHOT: A Tropical Velvet Worm’s Death Trap
Using nozzle-like extensions on the side of its head, a tropical velvet worm shoots streams of sticky slime when hunting or defending itself.
Within the fluid are “nanoglobules,” tiny balls made of lipids and proteins. Once the slime hits the target, it’s over fast: The movement of the struggling prey, such as beetles and termites, causes the globules to harden into fibers as strong as nylon, creating a netlike trap that immobilizes the unlucky insect.
Remarkably, the ball-to-fiber pro …
NASA’s DART Mission Will Try to Deflect a Near-Earth Asteroid
(Inside Science) — Science fiction books and films have frequently featured the threat of a giant asteroid colliding with our planet and making humans go the way of the dinosaurs. But smaller space rocks also pose threats, and they tend to be harder to spot in advance.
A massive asteroid on a collision course would sail through our atmosphere and explosively burst in the air or crater the ground. Its invasion would initiate blasts of fire and thermal radiation, and likely cause numerous …
‘Transformative Change’ Needed: One Million Species Risk Extinction
One million species are threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history, according to a landmark report released Monday from the United Nations. And humanity is responsible.
“Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing,” said Josef Settele, an ecologist at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany, who co-chaired the new assessment, in a statement. “This …
CITIZEN SCIENCE SALON
Sound Justice: Citizen Science, Noise, and the Quest for Equity
At the start of World War I, thousands of soldiers were coming down with a baffling condition: they became blind, deaf, lost their memory, or developed uncontrollable shaking despite no obvious physical injury. Even stranger, this malady could be triggered by memories of the war even after the fighting had ended. At the time, doctors called what they were seeing “shell-shock,” though today we would call it by a different name: post-traumatic stress disorder. Anything that brought back memori …
Antimatter Acts Like Regular Matter in Classic Double Slit Experiment
(Inside Science) — One of the strangest things about quantum mechanics is that a particle can act like a wave. In particular, in a double-slit experiment, individual particles that are shot through a pair of slits create a pattern as if they each went through both slits simultaneously and interfered with themselves. Researchers have now shown for the first time that antimatter behaves in the same unintuitive way.
Antimatter particles correspond to the regular particles that we are used t …
Neutron Star Merger Seeded Solar System with Heavy Elements
Before the planets in our solar system formed or the sun turned on and started shining, two other stars had to die. Their deaths and later collision would seed the area where our area with many of the heavy materials needed for life on Earth. Now, 4.6 billion years later, astronomers are piecing together the story of these long-dead stars.
To do this, researchers studied different ways to make the heavy elements in question – exploding stars or violent collisions between stars – al …
Could Quantum Mechanics Explain the Existence of Spacetime?
Rod Serling knew all about dimensions.
His Twilight Zone was a dimension of imagination, a dimension of sight and sound and mind, a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It was all very clear except for the space and time part, the dimensions of real life. Serling never explained them.
Of course, ever since Einstein, scientists have also been scratching their heads about how to make sense of space and time. Before then, almost everybody thought Isaac Newton had figur …