Selected Sci-News Items  November 30 - December 06,  2019
General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate



How Does Language Emerge?
Phys.Org, December 02, 2019
Considering that the emergence of language might have taken millennia, it is intriguing to see how deaf people can create novel sign languages spontaneously.

Maze of Tunnels Reveals Remains of Ancient Jerusalem
National Geographic, November 14, 2019
Controversial excavations under the Holy City uncover layers of history and stoke long-standing tensions.

How Cereal Transformed American Culture
Mental Floss, October 20, 2013
More than a century ago, Christian fundamentalists invented cereal to promote a healthy lifestyle free of sin. Little did they know, their creation would eventually be used to promote just about everything!

U.S. Students Continue to Lag Behind Peers in East Asia and Europe in Reading, Math and Science
New York Times, December 03, 2019
Results of an international exam (PISA) suggest U.S. schools are not doing enough to prepare young people for the competitive global economy.

Mathematicians Catch a Pattern by Figuring Out How to Avoid It
Quanta, November 25, 2019
We finally know how big a set of numbers can get before it has to contain a pattern known as a "polynomial progression."

Our Place in the Universe Will Change Dramatically in the Next 50 Years --Here's How
The Conversation, November 28, 2019
Whether its the tiniest building blocks of our existence or the vastness of space, the universe still holds a number of mysteries about its workings and our place within it.
Heavyweight Black Hole Find Mystifies Astronomers
Sky & Telescope, November 27, 2019
Observations of a star have found it orbiting an unexpectedly massive black hole. If the discovery pans out, it would change our understanding of how massive stars die.
The Plot Thickens for a Hypothetical X17 Particle
Phys.Org, November 27, 2019
Fresh evidence of an unknown particle that could carry a fifth force of nature gives the NA64 collaboration at CERN a new incentive to continue searches.

Top Dark Matter Candidate Loses Ground to Tiniest Competitor
Quanta, November 27, 2019
Physicists have long searched for hypothesized dark matter particles called WIMPs. Now, focus may be shifting to the axion - an ultra-lightweight particle whose existence would solve two mysteries at once.

NASA's Parker Probe Reveals the Sun's Rogue Plasma Waves and Magnetic Islands
Science News, December 04, 2019
Launched in 2018, the spacecraft has flown closer to our star than any other mission


Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019
Scientific American, December 01, 2019
World-changing technologies that are poised to rattle the status quo

Chew On This: Farmers Are Using Food Waste To Make Electricity
NPR/The Salt, November 30, 2019  (w/audio)
Dairy farmers in Massachusetts are using food waste to create electricity. They feed waste into anaerobic digesters, which capture the methane emissions and make renewable energy.

Hidden Gotcha in Artificial Turf Installations
Environmental Health News, December 04, 2019
With heightened awareness around the country about the health effects of PFAS, calculations for what artificial turf installations
actually cost over their full life-time may send a shock through the artificial turf industry

The Bonkers, Bristly Story of How Big Toothbrush Took Over the World
Wired, November 29, 2019
In a few decades, two warring toothbrush giants have carved out a market worth billions,
with the help of a little science and some clever marketing. But where does it go next?

China Gene-Edited Baby Experiment 'May Have Created Unintended Mutations'
The Guardian, December 03, 2019
He Jiankui's original research, published for the first time, could have failed, scientists say


If  "Pain Is an Opinion," There Are Ways to Change Your Mind
New York Times, December 02, 2019
All pain is real, but it's also true that it's "made by the brain" and that we can exert some control over it.

The Great American Eye-Exam Scam
The Atlantic, November 27, 2019
Why is it so difficult to get a new pair of glasses or contacts in this country? It's easier pretty much everywhere else.

Why Your Generic Drugs May Not Be Safe and the FDA May Be Too Lax
The Conversation, December 04, 2019
Unfortunately for those who turn to generics to save money, the FDA relies heavily on the honor system with foreign manufacturers, and U.S. consumers get burned. Eighty percent of the active ingredients and 40% of the finished generic drugs used in the U.S. are manufactured overseas.

Phys.Org, November 29, 2019
More than 60 percent of fake news read online about healthcare issues is considered credible-and trust in such claims increases if a story is seen multiple times.

The Case for Mandatory Vaccination
Nature, November 27, 2019
When immunization rates dip, legislation is often strengthened. But does the evidence stack up?

What Will It Take to End Extinction?
The Revelator, November 22, 2019
Endangered species face ever-increasing threats around the world, but conservationists are stepping up to the challenge with innovative ideas to address the ongoing biodiversity crisis.

How Life on Our Planet Made It Through Snowball Earth
New York Times, December 02, 2019
Rusty rocks left over from some of our planet's most extreme ice ages hint at oases for survival beneath the freeze.

Unique Sled Dogs Helped the Inuit Thrive in the North American Arctic
Science Daily, November 27, 2019
The legacy of these Inuit dogs survives today in Arctic sled dogs, making them one of the last remaining descendant populations of indigenous, pre-European dog lineages in the Americas.

What Are Lost Continents and Why Are We Discovering So Many?
Cosmos, December 02, 2019
They're not all hidden beneath the oceans, and not all submerged features qualify as lost continents.

Raiders Of The Lost Crops: Scientists Race Against Time To Save Genetic Diversity
NPR/The Salt, December 03, 2019  (w/audio)
Their goal: to preserve genetic diversity that could help key crops survive in the face of climate change.


A Turkish Dam Is About to Flood One of the Oldest Continuously Settled Places on Earth
Washington Post, November 27, 2019
It is expected to take a few months before the water starts to rise in this 12,000-year-old town, one of the oldest known, continuously inhabited settlements in the world, as the reservoir created by the Ilisu dam more than 35 miles downstream begins to fill.

Radiation Hotspots 'Found Near Fukushima Olympic Site'
The Guardian, December 04, 2019
Greenpeace calls for fresh monitoring of region where nuclear disaster occurred.

How Cities Can Lead the Fight Against Climate Change Using Urban Forestry and Trees
Mongabay, November 27, 2019
Cities and local municipalities are beginning to recognize the important linkages between urban resiliency, human well-being, and climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.

New York Times, December 05, 2019
Deforestation in the world's largest rainforest, an important buffer against climate change, has soared under President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

Danes See Greenland Security Risk Amid Arctic Tensions
BBC News, November 29, 2019
Denmark has for the first time put mineral-rich Greenland top of its national security agenda, ahead of terrorism and cyber-crime.


Even 50-Year-Old Climate Models Correctly Predicted Global Warming
Science, December 04, 2019
Most of the models accurately predicted recent global surface temperatures, which have risen approximately 0.9°C since 1970. For 10 forecasts,
there was no statistically significant difference between their output and historic observations.

Climate Tipping Points - Too Risky to Bet Against
Nature, November 27, 2019
The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action on emissions.

  Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet Are Producing Massive Waterfalls, Raising Scientists' Concerns for Sea Level Rise
Washington Post, December 02, 2019
At its peak, one meltwater lake drained the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool every three seconds.

John Kerry Launches Star-Studded Climate Coalition
New York Times, November 30, 2019
The name, World War Zero, is supposed to evoke both the national security threat posed by the earth's warming and the type of wartime mobilization that Mr. Kerry argued would be needed to stop the rise in carbon emissions before 2050

UN Climate Summit Opens with Growing Concern About ‘Laggard’ Countries
Inside Climate News, December 02, 2019
'The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,' UN Secretary-General António Guterres said as COP25 began in Spain. 'It is in sight and hurtling toward us.'

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