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Sci-News Roundup November 11 - November 17, 2023

General Interest  Cosmos   Innovation   Health  Nature  Environment  Climate

SftPublic programs are recorded, broadcast & distributed by Belmont Media Center Community TV. The videos are uploaded to WGBH Forum Network. SftPublic website.and online channels. Beginning in September, we are adding GBH Forum Network webinars.

Oct 03: Stem Cell Research and Communicating the Science Forum Network (video)

Oct 17: An Update on Those "Forever" Chemicals Forum Network (video)

Oct 24: Harvesting Electricity Out of Thin Air (BMC video)

Nov 14 2000 Years of Ocean and Climate (BMC)

Nov 28 Our Shaking Earth: Understanding & Predicting Earthquakes (FNetwork webinar)

Dec 05 The Urban Future: On Earth...and Elsewhere (BMC)


It's Not All in Your Head--You Do Focus Differently on Zoom

Scientific American, November 13, 2023

Virtual meetings and video calls don’t quite stack up to in-person interaction—and a new study proves it.

Archaeologists Unearth a Secret Lost Language From 3,000 Years Ago

Science Alert, November 15, 2023

No one yet knows what the curious cuneiform script says, but it seems to be a long-lost language from more than 3,000 years ago. Experts say the mysterious idiom is unlike any other ancient written language found in the Middle East, although it seems to share roots with other Anatolian-Indo-European languages.

Why the Human Brain Perceives Small Numbers Better

Quanta, November 09, 2023

The discovery that the brain has different systems for representing small and large numbers provokes new questions about memory, attention and mathematics.

Head Lice Crawling Through Human History

Cosmos, November 09, 2023

Head lice have been plaguing humans for thousands of years, and new research shows these blood-sucking parasites hitched a ride with humans during two separate waves of migration to the Americas.

Why We Have Time Zones

Thought Co., January 22, 2020

Time zones, a novel concept in the 1800s, were created by railroad officials who convened meetings in 1883 to deal with a major headache. It was becoming impossible to know what time it was.


Astronauts Lost a Tool Bag During a Spacewalk—and You Can See It Floating From Earth

Smithsonian, November 14, 2023

The bag slipped away while Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara were performing routine maintenance on the International Space Station.  

How to Think About a Four-Dimensional Universe

Universe Today, November 11, 2023

In Einstein’s famous theory of relativity the concepts of immutable space and time aren’t just put aside, they’re explicitly and emphatically rejected. Space and time are now woven into a coexisting fabric. That is to say, we truly live in a four-dimensional universe. Space and time alone cease to exist; only the union of those dimensions remains.  

Harvard Astronomer’s “Alien Spherules” Are Industrial Pollutants

The Big Think, November 14, 2023

Finding alien technology on the seafloor would be truly incredible. This extraordinary claim, however, is debunked by the actual evidence.

Webb Shows Planets Really Do Start with Pebbles

Sky & Telescope, November 13, 2023

New observations from the James Webb Space Telescope turn up evidence for a long-proposed process of planet formation, in which icy pebbles deliver the water to inner regions of planet-forming disks.

Dark Matter May Have Its Own Collection of Particle Species Which Make the Periodic Table of ‘Invisible’ Elements 

The Science Times, November 15, 2023

It is believed that the universe produced dark matter during the first few minutes of the Big Bang. Scientists assume that those particles got trapped into ultra-dense pockets, which splintered off to become black holes. These cosmic voids likely dissolved into a shower of multiple dark matter particle "species, " creating a "dark matter periodic table" of invisible elements.


Google's New AI Weatherman Will Leave Forecasters in the Dust

Gizmodo, November 14, 2023

GraphCast, the search giant's fresh new AI, is about to make it rain on meteorologists.

Man Receives the First Eye Transplant Plus a New Face. It’s a Step Toward One Day Restoring Sight

STAT, November 09, 2023

Surgeons have performed the world’s first transplant of an entire human eye, an extraordinary addition to a face transplant — although it’s far too soon to know if the man will ever see through his new left eye.

Batteries of the Future: How Cotton and Seawater Might Power Our Devices

BBC Future, November 08, 2023

Mining the lithium and other minerals we need for batteries is taking an increasing toll on the environment. There are alternative materials all around us though.

First Chimeric Primate Live Birth in China

Cosmos, November 10, 2023

Researchers in China have achieved the first live birth of a chimeric primate – a monkey with cells from two genetically distinct embryos from the same species.

First Trial of ‘Base Editing’ in Humans Lowers Cholesterol — But Raises Safety Concerns

Nature, November 13, 2023

Super-precise gene-editing approach switches off a gene in the liver that regulates ‘bad’ cholesterol.


Any Activity – Even Sleeping – Is Better for Your Heart Than Sitting, New Research Shows

Sci-Tech Daily, November 14, 2023

Replacing sitting with as little as a few minutes of moderate exercise a day tangibly improves heart health, according to new research from UCL and the University of Sydney.

8 Heart-Healthy Habits May Slow Biological Aging by 6 Years, Study Shows

Healthline, November 08, 2023

The checklist includes lifestyle changes designed to improve cardiovascular health.

US Men Die 6 Years Before Women, As Life Expectancy Gap Widens

Science Daily, November 14, 2023

We've known for more than a century that women outlive men. But new research shows that, at least in the United States, the gap has been widening for more than a decade.

The Benefits of Adding a Drizzle of Olive Oil to Your Diet

American Heart Association, September 28, 2022

The ancient Greeks were on to something when they referred to olive oil as an "elixir of youth and health." Centuries later, research offers evidence about the benefits of olive oil in our daily diets.

Can’t Think, Can’t Remember: More Americans Say They’re in a Cognitive Fog

New York Times, November 13, 2023

Adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s are driving the trend. Researchers point to long Covid as a major cause.


Iceland Volcanic Eruption Still Likely, Say Scientists

BBC News, November 14, 2023

Residents of an Icelandic town struck by hundreds of earthquakes have briefly been allowed back to their homes to collect belongings.

More than 500 quakes hit the south-western Reykjanes Peninsula on Monday.

Why Vultures Might Just Be the Smartest Birds Above the Block

New York Times, November 14, 2023

The birds are widely reviled for their carrion-eating ways. But an evolutionary history of scavenging has forged a creative, cunning and wide-ranging mind.

How Animals Follow Their Noses

Knowable, March 06, 223

It’s not easy to find the source of a swirling scent plume. Scientists are using experiments and simulations to uncover the varied strategies that animals employ.

Recording the First Daily Measurements of Earth's Rotation Shifts

Phys.Org, November 11, 2023

The ring laser at the Geodetic Observatory Wettzell can now be used to capture data at a quality level unsurpassed anywhere in the world. The measurements will be used to determine the Earth's position in space, benefit climate research, and make climate models more reliable.

Cuttlefish and Their Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoats

Hakai, November 11, 2023

Cuttlefish change colors to hide, hunt, and communicate—and, these scientists think, when they dream.


Hidden Costs of Global Agrifood Systems Worth at Least $10 Trillion

United Nations FAO, June 11, 2023

Our current agrifood systems impose huge hidden costs on our health, the environment and society, equivalent to at least $10 trillion a year, according to a ground-breaking analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), covering 154 countries. This represents almost 10 percent of global GDP.

The World Is Awash in Plastic. Oil Producers Want a Say in How It's Cleaned Up

NPR, November 13, 2023

[Fossil fuel companies] push a similar message: The problem of plastic pollution can be solved through recycling and other forms of waste management rather than through substantial cuts in new plastic production. But years of research and investigations, including by NPR, have shown that recycling is failing to rein in plastic waste.

US Faces Almost Daily Hazardous Chemical Accidents, Research Suggests

The Guardian, November 09, 2023

Hazardous chemical accidents are occurring almost daily, on average, in the United States, exposing people to dangerous toxins through fires, explosions, leaks, spills and other releases, according to a new analysis by non-profit researchers.

Chemical Companies Are Spending Millions to Lobby Lawmakers on Toxic Forever Chemicals

Common Dreams, November 11, 2023

Our new research uncovers the potential scale of their efforts—and the cost to the public.

We're Disrupting Another Major Earth Cycle, And No One's Talking About It

Science Alert, November 05, 2023

While geological and hydrological processes naturally bring salt up to Earth's surface over long time spans, we're speeding up this natural flow due to mining, land development, and the use of road salts to melt ice. Researchers have combined their expertise to document what they describe as an "existential threat" to supplies of freshwater.


World Behind on Almost Every Policy Required to Cut Carbon Emissions, Research Finds

The Guardian, November 14, 2023

Coal must be phased out seven times faster and deforestation reduced four times faster to avoid worst impacts of climate breakdown, says report.

Hundreds of Scientists Urge Biden to Back Speedy 'Phaseout of All Fossil Fuels' at COP28

Common Dreams, November 14, 2023

The joint letter arrives as a new UN analysis shows "baby steps" on climate action by nations won't suffice as planet suffers increasingly dire impacts from the burning of coal, oil, and gas.

Faster Arctic Warming Hastens 2C Rise by Eight Years

EurekAlert!, November 13, 2023

Faster warming in the Arctic will be responsible for a global 2C temperature rise being reached eight years earlier than if the region was warming at the average global rate, finds a new modelling study led by UCL (University College London) researchers.

Earth Reacts to Greenhouse Gases More Strongly Than We Thought

Scientific American, November 04, 2023

Climate scientists, including pioneer James Hansen, are pinning down a fundamental factor that drives how hot Earth will get.

Major US Climate Disasters Occur Every Three Weeks, Report Finds

Nature, November 15, 2023

Fifth National Climate Assessment says nowhere is safe from warming, but some communities are impacted harder than others.

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