Today’s stories include the start of work in Western Australia on the world’s most powerful radio telescopes, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease could come from inside your mouth, and much more.
” Are we alone in the universe ? »: Work begins in Western Australia on the world’s most powerful radio telescopes, reports The Guardian. More than 100,000 antennae will be built over Wajarri country, allowing astronomers to peek billions of years back to ‘cosmic dawn’
More than a million new stars will be targeted for the search for extraterrestrial life-This research will increase the number of targets to search for extraterrestrial life by a factor of 1,000, reports iFl Science. “The Breakthrough Listen Initiative has announced a new collaboration with the MeerKAT Observatory in South Africa to target over one million nearby stars in the search for technosignatures, potential evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence.”
The transcendent human brain. Humans are evolutionarily attracted to beauty. How do such complex experiences emerge from a collection of atoms and molecules? Reports Alan Lightman for The Atlantic. “Recently, I found myself in the office of neuroscientist Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, discussing what it takes to know that two people are going to fall in love.”
‘Holdout Humans’: A glimpse of our future if we survive another million years, reports Anders Sandberg for The Conversation. “Modern humans, Homo sapiens, have been around for about 300,000 years. So what will happen if we reach a million years?
“Great scientific breakthrough”: the construction of the largest radio observatory in the world is finally underway: Two giant telescopes – one in Australia, the other in South Africa – will include the supersensitive Square Kilometer Array, reports Nature. “The most exciting science will be about phenomena that ‘we didn’t even know existed’ when telescopes were designed,” predicts Sarah Pearce, director of the Perth-based SKA-Low Telescope. The first four tables will collect data by 2024, and all tables will be completed by 2028.”
NASA’s plan to make JWST data immediately available will hurt astronomy–By releasing astronomers’ data before they’ve had a chance to analyze the information, NASA will make research less fair and equitable, reports Scientific American.
Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 6 months to help build new space station, reports NPR. “Three Chinese astronauts landed in a northern desert on Sunday after six months of work to complete the construction of Tiangong Station, a symbol of the country’s ambitious space program, state television reported.”
2 billion year old enzyme reconstructed: Detective work by molecular biologists and bioinformatics researchers, reports Diana Smikalla, University of Leipzig for Phys.org–“Researchers at the University of Leipzig have solved a puzzle in the evolution of bacterial enzymes. By reconstructing a candidate for a special RNA polymerase as it existed around 2 billion years ago, they were able to explain a hitherto puzzling property of the corresponding modern enzymes.
Earth’s oxygen comes from a surprisingly deep and warm source, Study Suggests, reports Science Alert. “Twenty-one percent of the atmosphere is made up of this life-giving element. But in the distant past – as far back as the Neoarchean era 2.8 to 2.5 billion years ago – this oxygen was almost absent.
Earth’s magnetic field supports biblical stories of destruction of ancient cities, reports Big Think. “Using the ancient orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field, scientists were able to piece together the history of military conquests in ancient Judea.”
New estimate finds more magma under Yellowstone supervolcano– The extra magma doesn’t mean it’s more likely to erupt, the scientists say. In fact, better measurement helps them understand its future, reports the New York Times Science.
Can plants see? Following a controversial study, the answer is still unclear, reports The Scientist. “In an article published online last year in Plant Signaling and Behavior, citizen scientist Jacob White and University of Bonn graduate student Felipe Yamashita claim to have found evidence for a different hypothesis: that vines can “see” the leaves of other plants, at least well enough to copy their appearance.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease could come from inside your mouth, reports Peter Dockrill for Science Alert. “In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies have supported an alarming hypothesis: Alzheimer’s disease is not just a disease, it is an infection.
A penguin-like shape may have helped this dinosaur dive-The duck-sized animal’s body has been streamlined to pursue prey underwater, researchers say. Other paleontologists say more work is needed to confirm the find, reports The New York Times Science.
Fur seals have made a tremendous comeback. That could be a problem. The once endangered species is now wreaking havoc on coastal vegetation, putting Antarctica at risk, reports Sean Mowbray for The Atlantic.
The hidden pollution of the oceans that kills marine mammals, reports BBC Future. “Noise and chemical pollution in our oceans affect the ability of marine mammals to navigate, communicate and detect danger.”
On December 7, the Moon will photobomb Mars-– Much of North America may witness a delightful astronomical event on the evening of Dec. 7 as the moon blocks Mars, reports Phil Plait for Scientific American.
Native tribes in the United States will receive $75 million for climate relocation–Grants to indigenous tribes across the United States totaling $75 million are the first in a new voluntary resettlement program aimed at addressing climate risks, reports Thomas Frank, E&E News.
Cruise passenger dies in ‘rogue wave incident’ while traveling in Antarctica-The big wave hit a Viking cruise ship as it was returning to southern Argentina, reports the Washington Post.
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