Top science stories of the week 09/28/2019

Welcome to the “Top science stories of the week” from Hawaii Science Digest.

Views expressed in this science and technology news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Accessed on 28 September 2019, 1745 UTC.


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New Pterosaur Was Fossilized with a Ridiculous Grin

A skull found in China reveals a previously unknown flying reptile — Read more on
Forget Area 51

There are way more important planetary concerns to direct your attention to — Read more on
Neuroscientist Named MacArthur “Genius” Talks Creativity in Science

Vanessa Ruta, a former ballet dancer, now focuses her creative instincts on exploring how behavior changes as brain circuits are altered through evolution or experience — Read more on
To Invent a Quantum Internet

The physicist and computer scientist Stephanie Wehner is planning and designing the next internet—a quantum one — Read more on
Science Education Is Under Legislative Attack

More than a dozen half-baked bills in a number of states would weaken the teaching of evolution and other “controversial” topics — Read more on
Personalized Nutrition: The Latest on DNA-Based Diets

What can our genes tell us about which diet will work best for us? — Read more on


Why Your Dog Likes Sticking Its Head Out the Car Window

What’s so great about hanging your head out of a car window? (Credit: Shutterstock) If happiness were a picture, there’s a pretty good chance it would be a dog with its head sticking out of a car window. It seems few pups can resist a breeze running through their fur and their ears flapping in the wind as their owner cruises into the sunset. And based on those wind-whipped grins, dogs seem to whol
The Oldest Discovered Cluster of Galaxies is Revealing the Early Universe

A rendering of data from the study. The blue shading shows the estimated protocluster extent and the smaller boxes show images of the galaxies they observed in the protocluster. (Credit: NAOJ/Harikane et. al.) Galaxies and dark matter stretch throughout our universe as a vast cosmic web. They cluster together in some areas and leave empty voids in others. But how early in the universe’s history th
A Weirdly Giant Planet Around a Tiny Star is Defying Astronomer’s Expectations

The newly discovered planet, named GJ 3512 b, is half the mass of Jupiter. Researchers think its tiny red dwarf host not only likely harbors an additional massive planet, but also ejected another in the past. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Astronomers have discovered a gigantic planet orbiting a puny star some 30 light-years away. And according to current theories, the planet shouldn’t exist. Dubbed G


Liquid biopsy has prognostic role in colorectal cancer and potential for guiding therapy

Liquid biopsy is likely to play an increasing role in identifying patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) who are likely to relapse after surgery, and has potential for optimising treatment for individual patients, according to new research presented at the ESMO Congress 2019.
Front-line osimertinib improves overall survival in EGFR-mutation positive NSCLC

First-line osimertinib significantly lengthens overall survival compared to older generation EGFR-TKIs in patients with Ex19del/L858R EGFR mutated advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to late breaking results of the FLAURA trial presented at the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
PARP inhibitor plus chemotherapy improves progression-free survival for advanced ovarian cancer patients

Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported study results showing that initial treatment with the PARP inhibitor veliparib in combination with chemotherapy significantly increased progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with newly diagnosed, metastatic high-grade serous ovarian cancer, according to the results of the VELIA trial.
New treatment improves survival in women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer

An international study shows that administering niraparib after chemotherapy reduces by nearly 40% the risk of relapse or death from this disease. The Primary Investigator is Dr. Antonio González Martín from Clinica Universidad de Navarra (Spain) and president of the Spanish Ovarian Cancer Research Group. The New England Journal of Medicine published this research in its last online issue. Ovarian
Two immunotherapy drug combination offers chemotherapy-free option for advanced NSCLC

New data have shown that first-line treatment with a combination of two immunotherapy drugs improves overall survival in a subset of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to chemotherapy.
Ovarian cancer: more women benefit from maintenance combined targeted therapy

New data presented at the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, show the benefit of a more intensive maintenance regimen for ovarian cancer with the PARP inhibitor olaparib added to bevacizumab, in an all-comers population, with and without a BRCA mutation. According to late breaking results of the PAOLA-1/ENGOT-ov25 trial, this approach extends progression free survival in patients with advance


Google is taking over DeepMind’s NHS contracts – should we be worried?

Five NHS trusts have agreed contracts with Google Health after it swallowed up its UK sister firm DeepMind Health. But a lack of transparency means it’s hard to tell how much has changed


Physicists score double hit in LED research

In two breakthroughs in the realm of photonics, City College of New York graduate researchers are reporting the successful demonstration of an LED (light-emitting diode) based on half-light half-matter quasiparticles in atomically thin materials. This is also the first successful test of an electrically driven light emitter using atomically thin semiconductors embedded in a light trapping structur
Hundreds of thousands join children’s climate strikes in Europe

Hundreds of thousands of youths demonstrated across European cities on Friday in the second in a global series of protests to avert a climate catastrophe.
Creating different kinds of light with manipulable quantum properties

In a paper published today in Nature’s NPJ Quantum Information, Omar Magaña-Loaiza, assistant professor in the Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Physics & Astronomy, and his team of researchers describe a noteworthy step forward in the quantum manipulation and control of light, which has far-reaching quantum technology applications in imaging, simulation, metrology, computation, commu
Three more elephants killed in Sri Lanka, bringing toll to seven

Wildlife officials found three more dead wild elephants in central Sri Lanka Saturday, raising the number believed to have been poisoned by angry villagers to seven.
High-speed microscope illuminates biology at the speed of life

The Columbia team behind the revolutionary 3-D SCAPE microscope announces today a new version of this high-speed imaging technology. In collaboration with scientists from around the world, they used SCAPE 2.0 to reveal previously unseen details of living creatures—from neurons firing inside a wriggling worm to the 3-D dynamics of the beating heart of a fish embryo, with far superior resolution and
New frontier for science as astronomers detect gas molecules in comet from another star

An international team of astronomers, including Queen’s University Belfast researchers, have made a historic discovery, detecting gas molecules in a comet which has tumbled into our solar system from another star.


No, you can’t get the flu from a flu shot

A nurse in Atlanta preparing the flu vaccine for a shot. (David Goldman/AP Photo/) Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons. During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45 percent of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8 perce
Last week in tech: Robot gymnastics, mobile Mario Kart, and an avalanche of Amazon gadgets

Trips to Ikea typically take the crown as the best way to test the strength of a relationship. We know, however, that a day shopping for Swedish furniture has nothing on the crucible of friendship that is Mario Kart . The adorable racing game brings out the brutal competitor in everyone. This week, Nintendo dropped Mario Kart Tour onto iOS, which means mobile users can now red shell all of their
Six must-haves for lovers of houseplants

Take care of your jungle. (Scott Webb via Unsplash/) Indoor plants can make any space feel brighter, fresher, and homier. Not only do plants quite literally clean your air, they also add some much-needed greenery to what some may describe as drab city apartments. These essentials are great for any type of plant parent, be that a horticulture newbie or the head of a large family of plant “children
Durable, stylish umbrellas to replace your $5 drug store find

Block the rain and the shine. (Edu Lauton via Unsplash/) An umbrella’s made out of about 150 parts, any one of which could snap and break in a bit of wind. The best umbrellas hold up under storm conditions, are easy to carry, and might look cute, to boot. Here, a few of our favorites. Award-winning windproof umbrella that holds up in storms. (Amazon/) The Repel travel umbrella has nine reinforced
Get ready for No Red October

“Hey, that No Red October thing sounds pretty cool! How about you join in?” (Jean Carlo Emer via Unsplash/) For the third consecutive year, here at Popular Science we’re celebrating No Red October, a month in which we suggest you skip the red meat for the sake of our planet . Don’t worry—you won’t be alone in this. Our whole team will embark on this healthy adventure with you, and throughout the
Gear to make your own kombucha

Tasty kombucha, made at home. (Neeks & Gaston via Reshot/) Kombucha, a fermented sweet tea that tastes just a bit like vinegar, has climbed in popularity in the last decade, finding a home in your grocery stores and delis. You may even have a friend who is brewing a batch of their very own. Want to give it a try? Here are some of the materials you’ll want. The Kombucha Shop is a completely organi


New blood test capable of detecting multiple types of cancer

A new blood test in development has shown ability to screen for numerous types of cancer with a high degree of accuracy, a trial of the test shows.
Ultrasound can reveal gene expression in the body

Researchers are developing a technique for imaging mammalian gene expression with ultrasound by combining human bacteria and virus DNA.
Ditch the delicate wash cycle to help save our seas

The volume of water used during a wash cycle, rather than the spinning action of the washing machine, is the key factor in the release of plastic microfibres from clothes.
Safe mercury levels in Kotzebue Sound fish

A new analysis of Kotzebue Sound fish has found that mercury levels in a variety of its subsistence species are safe for unrestricted consumption. The study tested 297 subsistence-caught fish. The average mercury levels for each of the eight species were at levels considered safe by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Your energy-efficient washing machine could be harboring pathogens

For the first time ever, investigators have identified a washing machine as a reservoir of multidrug-resistant pathogens. The pathogens, a single clone of Klebsiella oxytoca, were transmitted repeatedly to newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit at a children’s hospital. The transmission was stopped only when the washing machine was removed from the hospital.
Are humans preventing flies from eavesdropping?

Soundscapes may influence the evolution of tightly co-evolved host-parasitoid relationships. Both traffic noise and natural ocean noise were found to inhibit parasitoid Ormia fly orientation to sound, which affects reproduction of the fly
For the latest trends in science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, cyber security, and artificial intelligence, please visit this blog daily.  News feeds are updated daily.  Thanks for joining us today.
Until next time,
Russ Roberts (breaking science and technology news).

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