New Scientist Magazine – May 28, 2022
The puzzle of Palaeospondylus – Over a hundred years ago, archaeologists discovered fossils of the aquatic animal Palaeospondylus. But since then researchers have been unable to place where this animal sits on the tree of life. Now, new analysis of Palaeospondylus’s anatomy might help to solve this mystery.
08:18 Research Highlights
A strong, silk-based version of mother of pearl, and the parrots that use their heads when climbing.
Research Highlight: Silk imitates mother of pearl for a tough, eco-friendly material
Research Highlight: A ‘forbidden’ body type? These parrots flout the rules
10:51 How lasers revealed an ancient Amazonian civilization
Archaeologists have used LiDAR to uncover evidence of an ancient civilization buried in the Bolivian Amazon. The team’s work suggests that this area was not as sparsely populated in pre-Hispanic times as previously thought.
Research article: Prümers et al.
News and Views: Large-scale early urban settlements in Amazonia
16:21 Briefing Chat
We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the debate surrounding the first transplant of pig kidneys into humans, and the plants grown in lunar soil.
Dark matter makes up most of the matter in the Universe, and is thought to be needed for galaxies to form. But four years ago, astronomers made a perplexing, and controversial discovery: two galaxies seemingly devoid of dark matter.
This week the team suggests that a cosmic collision may explain how these, and a string of other dark-matter-free galaxies, could have formed.
Research article: van Dokkum et al
News and Views: Giant collision created galaxies devoid of dark matter
08:39 Research Highlights
How fossil fuel burning has caused levels of helium to rise, and a high-efficiency, hybrid solar-energy system.
Research Highlight: Helium levels in the atmosphere are ballooning
Research Highlight: Flower power: ‘Sunflower’ system churns out useful energy
10:49 Researchers experiences of the war in Ukraine
We hear the stories of scientists whose lives have been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including researchers who have become refugees, soldiers and activists in the face of a horrifying conflict.
Nature Feature: How three Ukrainian scientists are surviving Russia’s brutal war
20:46 Imaging the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way
Last week, a team of researchers released an image of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive blackhole at the centre of our galaxy. We hear how they took the image and what it is revealing about these enormous objects.
June 2022 – Volume 326, Issue 6
Neural activity probes your physical surroundings to select just the information needed to survive and flourish
By György Buzsáki
Paid parental leave and high-quality child care improve children’s brain development and prospects for a better future
By Dana Suskind and Lydia Denworth
They scurried in the shadows of dinosaurs for millions of years until a killer space rock created a new world of evolutionary opportunity
By Steve Brusatte
Twenty years after their initial detection, enigmatic blasts from the sky are starting to deliver tentative answers, as well as plenty of science
By Adam Mann
A survey of cell types across tissues as part of the Human Cell Atlas, mapped with single-cell transcriptomics in three papers in this issue, lays the foundation for understanding how cellular composition and gene expression vary across the human body in health, and for understanding how genes act in disease.
Nova explosions occur when a runaway thermonuclear reaction is triggered in a white dwarf that is accreting hydrogen from a companion star. The massive amount of energy released ultimately creates the bright light source that can be seen with a naked eye as a nova. But some of the energy has been predicted to be lost during the initial stages of the reaction as a flash of intense luminosity — a fireball phase — detectable as low-energy X-rays. In this week’s issue, Ole König and his colleagues present observations that corroborate this prediction. Using scans taken by the instrument eROSITA, the researchers identified a short, bright X-ray flash from the nova YZ Reticuli a few hours before it became visible in the optical spectrum. The cover shows an artist’s impression of the nova in the fireball phase.
New Scientist Magazine, May 14, 2022
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- FEATURES Have we been measuring the expansion of the universe wrong all along?
- NEWS Simple webcam test could show whether you lack a mind’s eye
- NEWS How quickly can you catch covid-19 again if you have already had it?