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Accessed on 18 February 2020, 1515 UTC.


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Breakthrough Listen Scientists Release New Data from SETI Survey of Milky Way

CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia. Image credit: Shaun Amy.The Breakthrough Listen Initiative, the largest ever scientific research program aimed at finding evidence of alien civilizations, has released data from the most comprehensive survey yet of radio emissions from the region around Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole that is four million times the mass of the Sun, and the so-called Earth Transit Zone, the plane of Earth’s orbit. CSIRO’s Parkes…


NASA Releases Remastered ‘Pale Blue Dot’ Image

This updated version of the iconic ‘Pale Blue Dot’ image taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft uses modern image-processing software and techniques to revisit the well-known Voyager view while attempting to respect the original data and intent of those who planned the images. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.On February 14, 1990, cameras of NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft pointed back toward the Sun and snapped a series of pictures of the Sun, Earth and other planets, making the first ever ‘Family Portrait of the Solar System’ as seen from the outside. One of those images, the picture of Earth, is now known as the ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ For the 30th anniversary of the famous photo, researchers at NASA’s…


Ancient Nests of Mud Wasps Used to Date Australian Aboriginal Rock Art

A typical remnant mud wasp nest (A) overlying pigment from a Gwion motif before removal and (B) the remainder with pigment revealed underneath. Image credit: Damien Finch.Mud wasp nests have helped establish a date for the Gwion Gwion rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. A typical remnant mud wasp nest (A) overlying pigment from a Gwion motif before removal and (B) the remainder with pigment revealed underneath. Image credit: Damien Finch. “The Kimberley region hosts thousands of rock art sites with some earlier depictions in a remarkably good…


Paleontologists Find New Fossils of Gigantic Freshwater Turtle

Reconstruction of Stupendemys geographicus male (front) and female (middle-left), together with the giant caimanine Purussaurus mirandai and the large catfish Phractocephalus nassi. Image credit: Jaime Chirinos.An international team of paleontologists has unearthed several well-preserved shells and the first known jaw specimen of Stupendemys geographicus, a species of freshwater side-necked turtle that lived 5-10 million years ago (Miocence period) in South America. Together, the fossils shed new light on the biology, past distribution, and phylogenetic position of the gigantic turtle. Reconstruction of…


Biologists Solve Mystery of ‘Stinging Water’

Cassiopea xamachana medusae (5-12 cm in diameter) resting on umbrella apex with oral arms facing up, observed by authors in the natural mangrove habitat in Key Largo, Florida, the United States. Scale bar - 5 cm. Image credit: A. Morandini.Snorkelers in mangrove forest waters inhabited by the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea xamachana report discomfort due to a sensation known as ‘stinging water.’ When Tohoku University’s Dr. Cheryl Ames and colleagues looked at toxin-filled mucus the jellyfish release into the water, they were surprised to discover gyrating balls of stinging cells — dubbed cassiosomes — inside the…


Physicists Pioneer New Way to Turn Metal into Insulator

An artist’s impression of the dissolving of the electronic ‘traffic jam:’ the red atoms are different in their quantum nature and allow transport of electrons in their surroundings. Image credit: Berend Zwartsenberg.A team of physicists led by the University of British Columbia has demonstrated a novel way to precisely control electrical currents by leveraging the interaction between an electron’s spin and its orbital rotation around the nucleus. An artist’s impression of the dissolving of the electronic ‘traffic jam:’ the red atoms are different in their quantum nature and allow transport of electrons…


West Africans Carry DNA from Mysterious Archaic Hominin

Xu et al find genetic proof of interbreeding between an unknown ancient hominin and the ancestors of modern-day Africans. Image credit: Bob Wilder, University at Buffalo.Four West African populations — Yoruba, Esan, Mende, and Gambian — derive 2 to 19% of their genetic ancestry from a yet-undiscovered species of archaic hominin that diverged before the split of modern humans and the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans, according to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles. Durvasula & Sankararaman provide complementary lines…


New Research Reveals Violent Birth of Continent Zealandia

Based on various lines of geological and geophysical evidence, particularly those accumulated in the last two decades, Nick Mortimer et al argue that Zealandia is not a collection of partly submerged continental fragments but is a coherent 4.9 million km2 continent. NC - New Caledonia; WTP - West Torres Plateau; CT - Cato Trough; Cf - Chesterfield Islands; L - Lord Howe Island; N - Norfolk Island; K - Kermadec Islands; Ch - Chatham Islands; B - Bounty Islands; An - Antipodes Islands; Au - Auckland Islands; Ca - Campbell Island. Image credit: Nick Mortimer et al, doi: 10.1130/GSATG321A.1.Zealandia — Earth’s seventh continent — experienced dramatic elevation changes between about 50 million and 35 million years ago, according to a new analysis of samples collected during the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 371 in 2017; this topographic upheaval may have been due to a widespread reactivation of ancient faults linked to formation of the western…


Green Tea Extract Plus Exercise May Mitigate Obesity-Related Fatty Liver Disease, Study Shows

According to Kathrin Andrich et al, the Epigallocatechin gallate -- a compound found in green tea leaves -- may be of particular benefit to patients struggling with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. Image credit: Ascyrafft Adnan.The combination of decaffeinated green tea extract and voluntary exercise can effectively mitigate nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, suggests a new study conducted in mice. Khoo et al investigated the effects of decaffeinated green tea extract, voluntary exercise or the combination on the development of obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and found that treatment of mice with…

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