This week’s top science-technology stories


Welcome to Hawaii Science Digest update.  Views expressed in this science and technology news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by,,,, Wired Magazine,, and Scientific American Content.  Accessed on 07 October 2019, 1630 UTC.

Source:  My personal science and technology feeds (  Please scroll down to read your selections.


How Do We Prevent Pets from Becoming Exotic Invaders?


Outlawing possession does not appear to stem the release of alligators, snakes and other problematic species — Read more on

Discovery of Molecular Switch for How Cells Use Oxygen Wins 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine


Research by William Kaelin Jr., Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza led the way for applications in treating anemia, cancer and other diseases — Read more on

Nobel in Physiology or Medicine for How Cells Sense Oxygen Levels


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen… — Read more on

A Green Army Is Ready to Keep Plastic Waste Out of the Ocean


Unfortunately, the world is ignoring it —

The Complexity of Napoleon Chagnon, Anthropology’s Lightning Rod


Unpublished excerpts from a 2000 interview capture one of the most controversial figures in modern science — Read more on


Three Share Nobel Prize in Medicine for How Cells Sense Oxygen


(Credit: Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator. Copyright American Institute of Physics) (Inside Science) — The 2019 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to three scientists “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” The 9 million Swedish krona (more than $900,000) prize is shared equally between William Kaelin from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


The last mammoths died on a remote island


Isolation, extreme weather, and the possible arrival of humans may have killed off the holocene herbivores just 4,000 years ago.

CTE risk, severity increases with years playing American football


The risk and severity of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) increases with the number of years playing American football according to a new study that appears online in Annals of Neurology. These findings reaffirm the relationship between playing tackle football and CTE, and for the first time quantify the strength of that relationship.

Another casualty of climate change? Recreational fishing


Another casualty of climate change will likely be shoreline recreational fishing, according to new research. The study finds some regions of the U.S. may benefit from increasing temperatures, but those benefits will be more than offset by declines in fishing elsewhere.

Large, long-term study suggests link between eating mushrooms and a lower risk of prostate cancer


Results from the first long-term cohort study of more than 36,000 Japanese men over decades suggest an association between eating mushrooms and a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Picoscience and a plethora of new materials


The revolutionary tech discoveries of the next few decades may come from new materials so small they make nanomaterials look like lumpy behemoths. These materials will be designed and refined at the picometer scale, which is a thousand times smaller than a nanometer. A new Yale study moves picoscience in a new direction: taking elements from the periodic table and tinkering with them at the subato

Groundbreaking method detects defective computer chips


A technique co-developed by researchers at the Paul Scherer Institut in Switzerland and researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering would allow companies and other organizations to non-destructively scan chips to ensure that they haven’t been altered and that they are manufactured to design specifications without error


Nobel prize for medicine goes to discovery of how cells sense oxygen


The Nobel prize in physiology or medicine has been jointly awarded to William Kaelin of Harvard University, Peter Ratcliffe of Oxford University and Gregg Semenza of Johns Hopkins University, for their discovery of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability

The key to a long life may be genes that protect against stress


Long-lived animals like the grey whale and naked mole rat have genes that protect them from stress and cancer

Microbial life might drift in the atmospheres of failed stars


Brown dwarfs are too large to be planets and too small to be stars, but they have gaseous atmospheres that may have all the ingredients needed for life

We can send a probe to interstellar comet Borisov – but not until 2030


Astronomers are racing to learn about only the second interstellar object ever seen. We now know it contains cyanide gas – and we could send a probe to visit it


Rare ‘Lazarus superconductivity’ observed in promising, rediscovered material


Researchers from the University of Maryland, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) and the University of Oxford have observed a rare phenomenon called re-entrant superconductivity in the material uranium ditelluride. The discovery furthers the case for uranium ditelluride as a promising material for use in quantum computers.

Oobleck’s weird behavior is now predictable


It’s a phenomenon many preschoolers know well: When you mix cornstarch and water, weird things happen. Swish it gently in a bowl, and the mixture sloshes around like a liquid. Squeeze it, and it starts to feel like paste. Roll it between your hands, and it solidifies into a rubbery ball. Try to hold that ball in the palm of your hand, and it will dribble away as a liquid.

Scientists observe a single quantum vibration under ordinary conditions


When a guitar string is plucked, it vibrates as any vibrating object would, rising and falling like a wave, as the laws of classical physics predict. But under the laws of quantum mechanics, which describe the way physics works at the atomic scale, vibrations should behave not only as waves, but also as particles. The same guitar string, when observed at a quantum level, should vibrate as individu

Complex energies, quantum symmetries


In a certain sense, physics is the study of the universe’s symmetries. Physicists strive to understand how systems and symmetries change under various transformations.

A new mathematical approach to understanding zeolites


Zeolites are a class of natural or manufactured minerals with a sponge-like structure, riddled with tiny pores that make them useful as catalysts or ultrafine filters. But of the millions of zeolite compositions that are theoretically possible, so far only about 248 have ever been discovered or made. Now, research from MIT helps explain why only this small subset has been found, and could help sci

Pressure may be key to fighting climate change with thermoelectric generators


Pressure improves the ability of materials to turn heat into electricity and could potentially be used to create clean generators, according to new work from a team that includes Carnegie’s Alexander Goncharov and Viktor Struzhkin published in Nature Materials.


Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019: How cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is being awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for identifying molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.

Military drills for robots


Researchers tested ground robots performing military-style exercises, much like Soldier counterparts, at a robotics testing site in Pennsylvania recently as part of a 10-year research project designed to push the research boundaries in robotics and autonomy.

Ethiopian parents can’t make up for effects of life shocks on children by spending more on education


Ethiopian parents try to level out the life chances least-advantaged children affected by early life shocks such as famine and low rainfall levels by investing more in their education.

Particles emitted by consumer 3D printers could hurt indoor air quality


The particles emitted from 3D printers can negatively impact indoor air quality and have the potential to harm respiratory health, according to a new study.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover finds an ancient oasis on Mars


If you could travel back in time 3.5 billion years, what would Mars look like? The picture is evolving among scientists working with NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Cesium vapor aids in the search for dark matter


Physicists manage to further narrow down range of the search for dark matter.


Star Wars News: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Won’t Retcon ‘Last Jedi’


J.J. Abrams says he never found himself “trying to repair anything” while working on the forthcoming movie.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes to Your Body’s Oxygen Detector


Three scientists won the award for uncovering the molecular switch that regulates how cells behave when oxygen levels drop.

The Ties That Bind Facebook’s Libra


Facebook says its cryptocurrency will be managed by an independent group, but an analysis finds more than half of the members have links back to the social media giant.

The Style Maven Astrophysicists of Silicon Valley


You know who knows machine learning? People who look at the stars all day. And when it comes to what constellations of clothes and shows and music you will like, some of the same principles apply.

Most Deepfakes Are Porn, and They’re Multiplying Fast


Researchers worry that doctored videos may disrupt the 2020 election, but a new report finds that 96 percent of deepfakes are pornographic.

‘Joker’ Just Broke a Big Box Office Record


Also, here are some spankin’ new trailers for ‘Picard’, ‘The Expanse’, ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, ‘Riverdale’, and more.
For the latest trends in science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, cyber security, and artificial intelligence, please visit this blog daily.  Thanks for joining us today.
Until next time,
Russ Roberts (breaking science and technology news).


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