Top Science News


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Accessed on 02 December 2019, 1605 UTC.

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The Downside of Solar Energy

As renewable energy expands, used photovoltaic panels are creating a growing waste problem—but recycling could be the answer. — Read more on
Essential Advice for Fledgling Scientists

Among other things, practice humility—and remember that nature is the final arbiter of what’s true — Read more on
Automating History’s First Draft

Computers can tell what will matter (slightly) better than humans can — Read more on
Multiverse Theories Are Bad for Science

New books by a physicist and science journalist mount aggressive but ultimately unpersuasive defenses of multiverses — Read more on
Chicago Takes a Beating as Lake Levels Surge

High water and 12-foot waves are eroding shorelines on Lake Michigan — Read more on
The First Alien

When did we start talking about life from elsewhere? — Read more on


Scientists Just Created a Bacteria That Eats CO2 to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Researchers engineered a strain of E. coli bacteria that can consume carbon dioxide and turn it into energy. The synthetic life-form could someday help combat climate change.
Quantum Physics is No More Mysterious Than Crossing the Street: A Conversation with Chris Fuchs

According to a quantum interpretation called QBism, there’s no need for parallel universes or physics mysticism.
How Did Alzheimer’s Disease Get Its Name?

The name dates back to the German neurologist who first discovered the disease.
Ancient Inuit Brought Sled Dogs From Siberia That Helped Them Survive, Study Shows

Dogs were already in North America when Inuit communities arrived, but the dogs the Inuit brought with them had unique abilities that helped the people survive in a new environment.
Parkinson’s Patients are Mysteriously Losing the Ability to Swim After Treatment

Despite good motor skills, deep brain stimulation may be causing Parkinson’s patients to sink.
Scientists Find Evidence That Music Really is a Universal Language

Features common to the world’s music may underlie a universal musical grammar, according to a controversial new study.


New study reveals how ancient Puerto Ricans cooked

A new study by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences, and Valencia College analyzed the fossilized remains of clams to reconstruct the cooking techniques of the early inhabitants of Puerto Rico. The results showed that Puerto Ricans over 2,500 years ago were partial to roasting rather th
Käthe Beutler: ‘Do something!’

Thousands of Jewish physicians were stripped of their rights and murdered by the Nazis. Käthe Beutler fled with her family to the US and started all over again. An article about the life and work of the researcher, pediatrician, and mother is now appearing in the Medizinhistorisches Journal – plus the BIH’s Käthe Beutler Building is currently being built on the Berlin-Buch campus.
Supermarkets and child nutrition in Africa

Hunger and undernutrition are widespread problems in Africa. At the same time, overweight, obesity, and related chronic diseases are also on the rise. Recent research suggested that the growth of supermarkets contributes to obesity in Africa. However, previous studies looked at data from adults. New research shows that supermarkets are not linked to obesity in children, instead contributing to a r
Controlling the optical properties of solids with acoustic waves

Physicists from Switzerland, Germany, and France have found that large-amplitude acoustic waves, launched by ultrashort laser pulses, can dynamically manipulate the optical response of semiconductors.
Study examines the effects of weight loss surgery between pregnancies

New findings published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
New evolutionary insights into the early development of songbirds

An international team led by Alexander Suh at Uppsala University has sequenced a chromosome in zebra finches called the germline-restricted chromosome (GRC). This chromosome is only found in germline cells, the cells that hold genetic information which is passed on to the next generation. The researchers found that the GRC is tens of millions of years old and plays a key role in songbird biology,


Companies could be fined if they fail to explain decisions made by AI

Businesses could face multimillion-pound fines if they are unable to explain decisions made by artificial intelligence, under plans put forward by the UK’s data watchdog
Ancient puppy found in permafrost still has its fur and whiskers

An 18,000-year-old puppy still has its nose, fur, teeth and whiskers – but tests to determine whether it is a dog or a wolf have come up blank
IBM is using quantum computers to generate Minecraft-like game levels

IBM is using quantum computers to help generate video game scenes. The technology is still in its infancy but could result in more interesting or varied game levels
CO2-guzzling bacteria made in the lab could help tackle climate change

Bacteria have been engineered to live off carbon dioxide. As well as pulling the greenhouse gas from the air they could be used to make food and fuel
Could climate tipping points lead to collapse of human civilisation?

There is mounting evidence that key environmental tipping points are likely to be breached, but the global danger is still unclear
Modified BCG vaccine could prevent TB in cattle and help end culls

A modified version of the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis could allow cattle around the world to be vaccinated against the disease


Cardiac imaging with 3-D cellular resolution using few-mode interferometry to diagnose coronary artery disease

A new imaging technique developed by Biwei Yin and interdisciplinary researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the U.S., provides resolution at the subcellular-level to image the heart’s vascular system. As a result, heart researchers can study and diagnose human coronary artery disease with greater precision. Conventionally, cardiologists employ intravascular
New maps of salinity reveal the impact of climate variability on oceans

Since the saltiness of ocean surface waters is a key variable in the climate system, understanding how this changes is important to understanding climate change. Thanks to ESA’s Climate Change Initiative, scientists now have better insight into sea-surface salinity with the most complete global dataset ever produced from space.
95-million-year-old fossil reveals new group of pterosaurs

Ancient flying reptiles known as pterosaurs were much more diverse than originally thought, according to a new study by an international group of paleontologists.
Antarctic ice sheets could be at greater risk of melting than previously thought

Heat from the landmass beneath the Antarctic ice sheet is a major contributor to the way that glaciers melt and flow—and their impact on potential sea level rise. Hotter conditions allow meltwater to lubricate the base of the glacier, accelerating its movement and the rate of ice loss.
Accessing scrambling in quantum systems using matrix product operators

In quantum physics, scrambling is the dispersal of quantum information across a complex quantum system, such as chaotic quantum many-body systems. This process can make quantum information difficult or impossible to access, particularly when using simple and conventional physics methods.
How ancient microbes created massive ore deposits, set the stage for early life on Earth

New research in Science Advances is uncovering the vital role that Precambrian-eon microbes may have played in two of the early Earth’s biggest mysteries.


What it means to have ‘undetectable’ HIV—and why you need to know

Antiretroviral drugs allow people with HIV to live completely normal lives. They also prevent them from transmitting the virus to others once they reach an undetectable viral load. It’s been almost 40 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic, when hundreds of people began contracting deadly infections that doctors had no idea how to combat. It took until 1983 for researchers to identify the vir
Finding art in 1-star product reviews

You can just tell they’re typing in caps lock about the $10 blender they bought on Black Friday. (Pixabay/) Now that Black Friday has devolved from a single day of bargain-driven mayhem into a month long slog of fake deals and annoying marketing, Cyber Monday has its chance to shine. Last year, shoppers spent an estimated $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday , which was a nearly 20 percent increase from
We can still slash emissions and survive climate change, but we’re running out of time

A protest in Belgium. (DepositPhotos/) It’s still possible to keep the worst effects of climate change at bay, according to a new United Nations (UN) report on the “emissions gap,” but only if we make dramatic and immediate cuts to our use of greenhouse gases around the world. Here’s what you need to know: What is the emissions gap? The UN has produces its emissions gap report annually ahead of t
Scared about ‘forever chemicals’ after watching Dark Waters? Here’s what you need to know.

In the film Dark Waters, corporate lawyer Robert Billott takes on an unusual client: West Virginia farmer Wilbur Tennant. Tennant’s cows began dropping dead after chemical company DuPont built a landfill upstream on the creek that the livestock drank from. Billott begins investigating the waste at the site, uncovering DuPont’s own internal research on a chemical called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic aci
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is doing just fine, thanks for your concern

The Great Red Spot isn’t as great as it once was. (NASA/JPL/) The solar system’s largest storm has raged on planet Jupiter for at least 200 years, in what many of us know as The Great Red Spot. That tempest, which once could have swallowed roughly three Earths, has looked a little thin these days, moving some to declare its total demise could occur within a couple decades. But some recent slimmin
Ben Franklin invented a mesmerizing instrument with a deadly reputation

Mesmerism was about more than just hypnosis. (Wikimedia Commons/) What’s the weirdest thing you learned this week? Well, whatever it is, we promise you’ll have an even weirder answer if you listen to PopSci’s hit podcast . The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week hits Apple , Anchor , and everywhere else you listen to podcasts every Wednesday morning. It’s your new favorite source for the strangest


Home urine test for prostate cancer could revolutionize diagnosis

A new home urine test for prostate cancer could revolutionize diagnosis — according to new research. As well as diagnosing aggressive prostate cancer, the test predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods. It also means that men don’t have to come into the clinic to provide a urine sample — or have to undergo an uncomfortable rectal exa
Brush your teeth to protect the heart

Brushing teeth frequently is linked with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, according to a new study.
Facial deformity in royal dynasty was linked to inbreeding, scientists confirm

The ‘Habsburg jaw,’ a facial condition of the Habsburg dynasty of Spanish and Austrian kings and their wives, can be attributed to inbreeding, according to new results.
Investigational drugs reduce risk of death from Ebola virus disease

The investigational therapeutics mAb114 and REGN-EB3 offer patients a greater chance of surviving Ebola virus disease (EVD) compared to the investigational treatment ZMapp. The new report also shows that early diagnosis and treatment are associated with an increased likelihood of survival from EVD.
New technique visually depicts how cancer cells grow and spread in colon tissue

Researchers have observed how stem cell mutations quietly arise and spread throughout a widening field of the colon until they eventually predominate and become a malignancy.
How ancient microbes created massive ore deposits, set stage for early life

Ancestors of modern bacteria cultured from an iron-rich lake in Democratic Republic of Congo could have been key to keeping Earth’s dimly lit early climate warm, and in forming the world’s largest iron ore deposits billions of years ago.


How to Get Solar Power on a Rainy Day? Beam It From Space

A decades-old idea is finally getting a chance to shine—that is, a chance to send sunshine harvested by a satellite down to Earth.
Cheap at Last, Batteries Are Making a Solar Dream Come True

Solar power is increasingly available around the clock as energy storage become more affordable.
How Airports Are Protecting Themselves Against Rising Seas

Many of the nation’s busiest airports are subject to increased flooding from climate change. So they’re building seawalls and relocating sensitive equipment.
36 Best Cyber Monday 2019 Outdoor and Fitness Deals: Patagonia, Garmin, Etc

(Updated Frequently) From Patagonia outerwear to the Fitbit Versa Lite, we’ve got Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to keep you moving, outside, and happy.
Society Photographer Turns His Lens on Smartphone Addiction

Dafydd Jones shoots parties for a living. Around a decade ago, he began noticing a disturbing trend.
31 Cyber Monday 2019 Amazon Deals: Echo, Kindle, Fire TV, Ring, and More

Get your Prime on with our favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on Amazon’s Devices, including Fire tablets, Echos, Kindles, and more.
For the latest trends in science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, cyber security, and artificial intelligence, please check the blog sidebars and links.
Until next time,,
Russ Roberts (breaking science and technology news).

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