Top science stories of the week


Welcome to the Saturday edition of Hawaii Science Digest.

This post focuses on the top science stories of the week compiled by these sources: (my subscription).

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

Accessed on 01 February 2020, 1705 UTC.

Here are this week’s top science and technology news stories:


California Can Be Carbon Neutral in 25 years–with Drastic Action


To meet its ambitious goal, the state will have to pull carbon from the atmosphere and tackle emissions from agriculture and landfills, a new report says — Read more on

Rise of Robot Radiologists


Deep-learning algorithms are peering into MRIs and x-rays with unmatched vision, but who is to blame when they make a mistake? — Read more on

How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Medicine


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Forget Meters and Feet


There’s only one truly basic unit of length for earthlings — Read more on

Hunting for New Drugs with AI


The pharmaceutical industry is in a drug-discovery slump. How much can AI help? — Read more on

Wiring Minds


Successfully applying AI to biomedicine requires innovators trained in contrasting cultures — Read more on


What the Earliest Toilets Say About How Human Civilization Has Evolved


Latrines have been around for thousands of years. Though they haven’t exactly always been sanitary.

Native Americans Abandoned Cahokia’s Massive Mounds — But the Story Doesn’t End There


The archaeological site is famous for its 1400 A.D. abandonment. But new research suggests people soon moved back in.

Five Ways to Prepare for SuperbOwl Sunday


No matter which team you’re hooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, you can celebrate SuperbOwls and citizen science.

Everyone Has Neanderthal DNA in Their Genome, New Genetic Analysis Shows


A new kind of DNA analysis suggests that ancient humans came back to Africa and spread Neanderthal DNA around.

VIDEO: Meet the Denisovans, Humans’ Mysterious Cousins


You know Homo sapiens, you know Neanderthals, but have you met the Denisovans?

This Is the Most Detailed Picture of the Sun’s Surface Yet


Bubbling convection cells, each about the size of Texas, rise and fall across the sun’s surface.


The scent of a rose improves learning during sleep


Fragrances like rose scent can easily help to better consolidate memory during sleep, as researchers at the University of Freiburg — Medical Center show / Experiment with school classes confirms and simplifies a highly regarded study.

Institut Pasteur isolates strains of coronavirus 2019-nCoV detected in France


As well as sequencing the whole genome of coronavirus 2019-nCoV, the Institut Pasteur continued to work on the samples taken from the first confirmed cases. The quality of these initial samples enabled rapid cell-culture isolation of the new virus. The Institut Pasteur’s scientists now have access to the virus responsible for the infection. The isolation of the virus paves the way for new diagnost

Zoo improvements should benefit all animals


and include a wide range of ‘enrichment’ techniques, researchers say.

The Lancet: Modelling study estimates spread of 2019 novel coronavirus


New modelling research, published in The Lancet, estimates that up to 75,800 individuals in the Chinese city of Wuhan may have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of Jan. 25, 2020.

Anti-carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule antibody for fluorescence visualization


Oncotarget Volume 11, Issue 4: The research team’s aim was to investigate mAb 6G5j binding characteristics and to validate fluorescence targeting of colorectal tumors and metastases in patient derived orthotopic xenograft models with fluorescently labeled 6G5j.

Do less and get stronger: Science proves you can lift less with better results


Weightlifters could do less and get stronger by changing the amount they lift each session, according to new research. Sports scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, compared the weight lifting amounts of athletes using a traditional one rep max method with athletes who adjusted their loads at each session, and found all those who tailored their weights became stronger despite lifting less


The best picture ever taken of the sun reveals its bizarre surface


The best picture of the sun is more than five times more detailed than the previous highest-resolution images, revealing weird structures on our star’s surface

Ancient well may be the world’s oldest wooden architectural structure


An oak-lined well unearthed in the Czech Republic is made of wood felled more than 7000 years ago – and some of the timber might have been recycled from an earlier structure

New coronavirus looks set to cause a pandemic – how do we control it?


The new coronavirus looks set to go global as case numbers rise, but the variable way it seems to be spreading offers hope for keeping it under control

This tiny glass bead has been quantum chilled to near absolute zero


A glass bead has been brought down to its coldest possible quantum state using a new method that may one day allow us to observe an object in two places at once

The Lighthouse: How extreme isolation transforms the body and mind


Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play two characters who experience extreme isolation in the film The Lighthouse, which has a drastic effect on their minds

First cases of new coronavirus confirmed in the UK as disease spreads


Two members of the same family have tested positive for coronavirus in England, the UK Department of Health has confirmed


Rivers are warming at the same rate as the atmosphere


Researchers at EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) have found that the temperature of Swiss rivers is rising steadily. This situation is straining ecosystems and could limit the use of this water in Switzerland’s nuclear and hydropower industries.

As our planet gets greener, plants are slowing global warming


Chi Chen, a Boston University graduate researcher, and Ranga Myneni, a BU College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment, released a new paper that reveals how humans are helping to increase the Earth’s plant and tree cover, which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and cools our planet. The boom of vegetation, fueled by greenhouse gas emissions, could be skewing our perception of ho

How supercomputers are helping us link quantum entanglement to cold coffee


Theoretical physicists from Trinity College Dublin have found a deep link between one of the most striking features of quantum mechanics—quantum entanglement—and thermalisation, which is the process in which something comes into thermal equilibrium with its surroundings.

Calculating Hawking radiation at the event horizon of a black hole


A RUDN University physicist has developed a formula for calculating Hawking radiation on the event horizon of a black hole, which allows physicists to determine how this radiation would be changed with quantum corrections to Einstein’s theory of gravity. This formula will allow researchers to test the accuracy of different versions of the quantum gravity theory by observing black holes, and compri

Investigating dynamics of democratic elections using physics theory


Sometimes, physics theories and constructs can also be used to study seemingly unrelated phenomena, such as social behaviors or dynamics. While human beings are not necessarily similar to specific physical particles, theories or techniques that physicists typically use to analyze behavioral patterns in atoms or electrons may aid the general understanding of large-scale social behaviors as long as

Global science team on red alert as Arctic lands grow greener


New research techniques are being adopted by scientists tackling the most visible impact of climate change—the so-called greening of Arctic regions.


These close-up photos of the sun could help us forecast space weather


View this post on Instagram ☀️ You’re looking at the highest resolution observation of the Sun’s surface ever taken! ☀️ Collected over a period of 10 minutes, the footage from the Daniel K Inouye Telescope shows features as small as 18 miles in size. So, what does all this activity actually represent? The vicious movement of heat on a near-unimaginable scale. The National Solar Observatory (NSO)

How musicians like Radiohead and Massive Attack are making their tours less stressful on the environment


The bigger the venue and the band’s itinerary, the heftier the carbon footprint of the tour. (Deposit /) The live-entertainment industry is a dominating force in music—just look at all the people flipping out over the My Chemical Romance tour this week. Fans bought 57.7 million concert tickets worldwide in 2019. By 2023, the global accounting firm PWC estimates live music ticket sales will genera

A small coronavirus breakthrough could aid in the search for a vaccine


An Australian lab successfully reproduced the Wuhan coronavirus this week. (Nicola Sap De Mitri/Flickr CC/) Ian Christopher Davis is a professor of veterinary medicine at the Ohio State University. This story originally featured on The Conversation . See PopSci ’s updated post for more Wuhan coronavirus news . Scientists at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Aust

Space might be the perfect place to grow human organs


Researchers are finding that space might be an ideal environment for growing freestanding organs. Three-dimensional printers have now assembled candy, clothing, and even mouse ovaries . But in the next decade, specialized bioprinters could begin to build functioning human organs in space. It turns out, the minimal gravity conditions in space may provide a more ideal environment for building organ

Here’s how to watch the Super Bowl without cable as it streams in 4K for the first time


On a 4K TV, you’d have enough resolution to see that this definitely isn’t a picture of the Super Bowl. (Pixabay/) UPDATE: Since we originally published this article, Fox pulled support for its stand-alone apps on Roku devices, so if that was your plan to stream the game, you’re now out of luck. The announcement stems from a contractual disagreement and it only affects stand-alone Fox apps like F

Strep throat is figuring out how to beat our go-to antibiotics


Efforts to craft a vaccine may grow more urgent. (DepositPhotos/) A new and unnerving Strep A threat is on the horizon: a version of the bacteria that’s partly or wholly resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics. Streptococcus A is perhaps most infamous for being the most common cause of strep throat—a painful inflammation most common among children that can last weeks and cause serious compl


Modeling study estimates spread of 2019 novel coronavirus


New modeling research estimates that up to 75,800 individuals in the Chinese city of Wuhan may have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of Jan. 25, 2020. The authors caution that given the lack of a robust and detailed timeline of records of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and close contacts, the true size of the epidemic and its pandemic potential remains unclear.

Novel coronavirus receptors show similarities to SARS-CoV, according to new analysis


Previous studies have shown how the SARS virus (SARS-CoV) interacts with animal and human hosts in order to infect them. The mechanics of infection by the Wuhan coronavirus appear to be similar.

Whole genome of the Wuhan coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, sequenced


The Institut Pasteur has sequenced the whole genome of the coronavirus known as ‘2019-nCoV’, becoming the first institution in Europe to sequence the virus since the start of the outbreak.

‘Spring forward’ to daylight saving time brings surge in fatal car crashes


A study of 732,000 accidents over two decades has found that the annual switch to daylight saving time is associated with a 6% increase in fatal car crashes that week.

Immune systems not prepared for climate change


Researchers have for the first time found a connection between the immune systems of different bird species, and the various climatic conditions in which they live. The researchers believe that as the climate changes, some birds may be exposed to diseases that they are not equipped to handle.

Could resetting our internal clocks help control diabetes?


The circadian clock system allows the organisms to adjust to periodical changes of geophysical time. Today, increasing evidence show that disturbances in our internal clocks stemming from frequent time zone changes, irregular working schedules or ageing, have a significant impact on the development of metabolic diseases including type-2 diabetes. Using a molecule extracted from lemon peel, researc


Wuhan Coronavirus ‘Super-Spreaders’ Could Be Wildcards


Tracking the spread of disease requires precision and math. But super-spreaders, who transmit germs faster and further than other patients, can confound the model.

The UK Exited the EU—and Is Leaving a ‘Meme Ban’ Behind


Though the UK initially supported the legislation, it does not plan to implement the EU Copyright Directive post-Brexit.

Vancouver Wants to Avoid Other Cities’ Mistakes With Uber and Lyft


Canadian officials approve ride-hailing long after it’s become a staple elsewhere, with tough rules on fares and driver licensing.

*BoJack Horseman* Made It Easier to Get Out of Bed


The Netflix cartoon—for six seasons a lifeline and a gift—goes out with a signature emotional wallop.

Space Photos of the Week: There’s Nothing Like the Sun


You’re gonna need shades for this one.

Windows 7 Gets One Last Update For the Road


A Silk Road guilty plea, a UN hack, and more of the week’s top security news.
For the latest trends in science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, and artificial intelligence, plese check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily.   Thanks for joining us today.
Until next time,
Russ Roberts (breaking science and technology news).

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