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Sci-News Roundup September 02 - September 08, 2023

General Interest  Cosmos   Innovation   Health  Nature  Environment  Climate

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Sept 12: Addressing the Threat to Earth System Boundaries

Sept 19: Going to Mars? Better Take Some Gravity

Sept 26: How Clouds Predict Our Future Climate

Oct 03: Stem Cell Research --and Communicating the Science (rescheduled from 08/22)

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Early Ancestral Bottleneck Could’ve Spelled the End for Modern Humans

EurekAlert! August 31, 2023

Reasons suggested for this downturn in human ancestral population are mostly climatic: glaciation events around this time lead to changes in temperatures, severe droughts, and loss of other species, potentially used as food sources for ancestral humans.

Why Mathematical Proof Is a Social Compact

Quanta, August 31, 2023

Number theorist Andrew Granville on what mathematics really is — and why objectivity is never quite within reach.

What Are Dreams For?

New Yorker, August 31, 2023

Converging lines of research suggest that we might be misunderstanding something we do every night of our lives.

How Wealthy UFO Fans Helped Fuel Fringe Beliefs

Scientific American, August 25, 2023

There is a long U.S. legacy of plutocrat-funded pseudoscience. Congress just embraced it.

Generation AI: Education Reluctantly Embraces the Bots

Reuters, September 07, 2023

Academics are among those who could face an existential threat if AI is able to replicate - at much faster speeds - research currently done by humans. Many also see the benefits of GenAI's ability to process information and data, which can provide a basis for deeper critical analysis by humans.


Will Humans Ever Go to Mars?

Astronomy, August 31, 2023

Economic and equipment challenges aside, an eventual human mission to Mars seems inevitable.

Myths of the Northern and Southern Lights Through History

EarthSky, September 05, 2023

Throughout human history, people have witnessed the aurora – both the northern and southern lights – and sought to explain and make sense of these dancing patterns in stories and myths.

The Story of Our Universe May Be Starting to Unravel

New York Times, September 02, 2023

Not long after the James Webb Space Telescope began beaming back from outer space its stunning images of planets and nebulae last year, astronomers, though dazzled, had to admit that something was amiss. 

A Development in Particle Physics Could Point to the Existence of a New Dimension

NPR/Weekend Edition, August 20, 2023

This extra wobble tests the holy grail of particle physics known as the Standard Model, which is a theory that explains everything we know about subatomic particles - basically the building blocks of the universe and how they interact.

Newly Discovered Comet Might Be Visible Soon

Cosmos, September 01, 2023

Comet C/2023 P1 Nishimura was found by Japanese astro-photographer Hideo Nishimura, on 11 August. It is expected to be visible in the pre-dawn sky up until around 7 September, getting brighter each day, in the constellation of Cancer.


New Air-Conditioning Technology Could Be the Future of Cool

Scientific American, August 29, 2023

Standard AC units cool buildings but contribute to global warming. New technology aims to change that.

AI Predicts Chemicals’ Smells from Their Structures

Nature, August 31, 2023

Neural network can provide descriptions, such as ‘grassy’, for a wide variety of molecules, including some that don’t exist in nature.

Babcock Ranch: Florida's First Hurricane-Proof Town

BBC/Future Planet, September 04, 2023

Florida's Babcock Ranch was built to survive a storm. Hurricane Ian was the town's first test. Incredibly, the community weathered the storm – emerging almost unscathed.

U.S. Spy Agency Dreams of Surveillance Underwear It’s Calling “SMART ePANTS”

The Intercept, September 02, 2023

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is throwing $22 million in taxpayer money at developing clothing that records audio, video, and location data.

Google Turns 25: the Search Engine Revolutionized How We Access Information, But Will It Survive AI?

The Conversation, September 03, 2023

What was it about Google that led it to revolutionize information access? And will artificial intelligence (AI) make it obsolete, or enhance it?

A 90-Plus Percent Cut in U.S. Building Emissions Is Possible

Anthropocene, August 31, 2023 (scroll down)

New study finds that aggressive energy efficiency, electrification, and smart, flexible draws on the power grid could slash emissions—and save $100 billion annually.


At 97, the First Lady of Fitness Is Still Shaping the Industry

New York Times, September 04, 2023

Elaine LaLanne — who revolutionized modern exercise alongside her husband, Jack — is a model for aging well.

Stretching: Focus on Flexibility

Mayo Clinic, February 12, 2022

You can stretch anytime, anywhere. Just follow these tips to do it safely and effectively.

Many People Think Cannabis Smoke Is Harmless − A Physician Explains How That Belief Can Put People At Risk

The Conversation, August 30, 2023

Though tobacco use is declining among adults in the U.S., cannabis use is increasing. Laws and policies regulating the use of tobacco and cannabis are also moving in different directions.

15 Staple Foods to Make Healthy Eating Easy All Week Long

Healthline, December 22, 2022

Want to make your kitchen a one-stop shop of mealtime building blocks? Look to these 15 good-for-you pantry, fridge, and freezer essentials.

Do You Really Need to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day? And 17 Other Fitness ‘Rules’, Tackled by the Experts

Guardian, September 01, 2023

From stretching before a workout to the truth about protein, this article separates the facts from dodgy exercise ‘wisdom’

Kids Who Are Always on iPads Missing Developmental Goals, Scientists Find

Neoscope, August 24, 2023

This new research out of Japan suggests that watching screens may limit infants' practicing of real-life motor skills that they glean from mimicking the people near them.


10 Times Humans Messed With Nature and It Backfired

Live Science, September 05, 2023

Nature is a complex web that humans have barely begun to untangle. And sometimes, when we try, we just wind up making an even bigger tangle.

Nature's Puzzle: Why Are Some Species Rare and Others Are Common?

Earth, September 05, 2023

A recent groundbreaking study has shed light on this mystery, offering new insights into a debate that has been ongoing since the time of Darwin.

Dust: How the Pursuit of Power and Profit Has Turned the World to Powder

Nature, September 04, 2023

From atmospheric nuclear testing to the US Dust Bowl, human activities have left a toxic legacy of particulate pollution — and the unseen fallout continues to this day.

Giant Study Warns Invasive Alien Species Are Spreading Out of Control

Science Alert, September 05, 2023

Invasive species that wreck crops, ravage forests, spread disease, and upend ecosystems are spreading ever faster across the globe, and humanity has not been able to stem the tide.

How Carbon Dating Works

How Stuff Works, August 30, 2023

How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are? What methods do they use and how do these methods work?


Climate Change Is Threatening Farms Across New England. Here’s How Farmers Are Responding

WBUR/Fresh Air, August 28, 2023 (w/audio + tapescript)

It’s a climate-smart demonstration farm, where farmers are implementing a variety of practices to manage the increasing threats from climate change.

Should We Be Worried About Nuclear Waste?

Impakter, August 31, 2023

Creating electricity, treating cancer, and quality management are some of the fields that require radioactive material. Nuclear waste is what remains after nuclear fuel is used. Let’s see what it is about.

Black Water: How Industry Is Fighting Stricter Controls for a Little-Known Drinking Water Contaminant

Grist, August 29, 2023

High levels of manganese in drinking water could harm infants and children, research shows. But industries that use or produce the metal are downplaying the risks in a battle with the EPA.

New EPA Rule Weakens Protections for Wetlands After Supreme Court Ruling

The Guardian, August 30, 2023

Rule requires wetlands to be more clearly connected to other waters, overturning half-century of federal regulation.

Green Groups Are Divided Over a Proposal to Boost the Nation’s Hydropower. Here’s Why

Inside Climate News, September 01, 2023

The new bill would shorten the permitting process for some projects, with a focus on converting old dams that don’t currently produce electricity into ones that do.


'A Reckoning': 500 Groups Endorse March to End Fossil Fuels

Common Dreams, September 05, 2023

"The March to End Fossil Fuels isn't a request," one organizer said "It's a demand for President Biden to enact actionable solutions that match the scale of the crisis at hand."

Earth’s “Third Pole” and Its Role in Global Climate

EOS, August 25, 2023

The Tibetan Plateau is a major force in the global climate system and a hot spot for climate change. A new review summarizes the state of knowledge and identifies research needs related to the region.

El Niño and Its Impacts This Year and in the Future

Physics Today, August 11, 2023

How will the well-understood El Niño–Southern Oscillation change as the planet warms?

Is Super-Polluting Pentagon’s Climate Plan Just ‘Military-Grade Greenwash’?

The Guardian, March 22, 2022

The US military, an institution whose carbon footprint exceeds that of nearly 140 countries, says it wants to go green.

Using Evidence from Last Ice Age, Scientists Predict Effects of Rising Seas on Coastal Habitats

Eco, September 01, 2023

In a study published in Nature, scientists reported how ancient coastal habitats adapted as the last glacial period ended more than 10,000 years ago and projected how they are likely to change with this century's predicted sea level rise.

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