Month: November 2020

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The origins of life, a few billion years ago, were humble. Single-celled organisms squirming in the ooze, over millions and billions of years developing into multi-celled plants and, eventually, animals.   But when and how these evolutionary spurts occurred has been difficult to puzzle out. Organic material doesn’t necessarily preserve well, and when it does,
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We live in an age of division. Of red hats versus blue votes. Black lives versus blue lines. Green energy versus gold purses. Society, it seems, is melting like some proverbial iceberg.   It’s a metaphor that extends beyond the poetic. A model of social cohesion created by researchers from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna
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More than 500 years ago, a medieval soldier’s dead body settled at the bottom of a Lithuanian lake, and for centuries it lay hidden beneath the mud. Now, those submerged remains have finally been found.   The skeleton was discovered during an underwater inspection of the old Dubingiai bridge in eastern Lithuania’s Lake Asveja. Though the skeleton lay under
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If you’ve ever studied any chemistry or biology, there’s a very good chance you’ve come across the common pictorial representation of what a chromosome is supposed to look like.   As millions of high-schoolers and undergraduates will attest, it’s a tall, narrow X-shape – visualising what two joined chromatids look like after DNA replication takes place, but
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Volcanoes rank among the most destructive and awe-inspiring phenomena on the planet. But these fiery fissures do much more than just destroy. They also create. In a new study, researchers in Russia report the discovery of one such creation – an unusual mineral never before documented by scientists: an alluring, vibrantly blue-and-green crystallised substance the
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Climate change is testing the resilience of our planet’s birds. While tropical avian species appear especially vulnerable to habitat loss, drought, natural disasters, and declining prey, new research suggests they can withstand heat waves quite well.   Using the largest dataset of its kind, the research calls into question a commonly-held conclusion that tropical birds,
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With global travel curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are finding comfort in planning future trips. But imagine that you finally arrive in Venice and the “floating city” is flooded.   Would you stay anyway, walking through St. Mark’s Square on makeshift catwalks or elevated wooden passages – even if you couldn’t enter the Basilica
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Massive greenhouse gas reserves, frozen deep under the seabed, are alarmingly now starting to thaw. That’s according to an international team of scientists whose preliminary findings were recently reported in The Guardian.   These deposits, technically called methane “gas hydrates”, are often described as “fiery ice” due to the parlour trick of burning atop a Bunsen
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Even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, Earth will warm for centuries to come and oceans will rise by metres, according to a controversial modelling study published Thursday.   Natural drivers of global warming – more heat-trapping clouds, thawing permafrost, and shrinking sea ice – already set in motion by carbon pollution will take
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The Virgin Hyperloop made its first journey carrying passengers Sunday, in a test the company claimed represented a major step forward for the “groundbreaking” technology capable of transporting people at 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) an hour.   The Hyperloop is intended to carry passengers in small pods through a vacuum tube, with proponents arguing it
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Scientists in Australia have made a remarkable discovery, with DNA evidence revealing that one of the country’s adorable airborne marsupials is in fact three separate species. The furry-bodied greater glider subsists on eucalyptus leaves much like its marsupial mate, the koala. But unlike the distinctly tree-bound koala, the greater glider can take to the air,