Friday Roundup: Asteroid Almost Hits Earth, AI Beats Doctors, and Plants Reject Mutated Genes?

I talked about why it’s easier for us to recognize something than it is to remember it, even though the information is clearly sitting in our brain somewhere. A 13-story asteroid passed closer than our satellites today. Biotechnology transforms a bacterium into a living computer. Are we witnessing the birth of a black hole first [...]

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Friday Roundup: 17 Billion Earth-Like Planets, Bionic Eyes, Wind Cheaper than Coal, and Suicidal Tumors

Earth-like planets are everywhere. Kepler discovers another 461 potentially habitable planets, bumping the total count up to 2,740, and estimating a total 17 billion of them in the Milky Way. Australian wind energy is now cheaper than coal. African physicists develop the world’s first digital laser, which would allow the manipulation of laser beam shapes without additional lenses and [...]

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Friday Roundup: Quantum Smelling, Evolving Solar Cells, and Magnetic Transistors

  • I discussed why gravity doesn’t need to escape a black hole in order to work.
  • Using an evolutionary algorithm, Northwestern University developed . The design is so effective that it outperforms the theoretical limit three times over. Meanwhile, Norwegians produce a new type of , and thus cheaper, than standard solar cells.
  • A new experiment suggests that .
  • Evolution in the test tube: the university of Minnesota .
  • Korean scientists that would allow circuitry to be reconfigured on the fly, dramatically reducing size and energy consumption of computers.
  • of the ’60s much more than the contraceptive pill.
  • . The highest performance seems to come from people with a mix of both.
  • Poor memory in old age may be .
  • .
  • The Scripps Research Institute discovered that , the part of the brain that handles fear and aggression (and sometimes sex).

Featured Science Book This Week:

The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos (CBC Massey Lecture)

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Friday Roundup: Medical Tractor Beams, Glowing Tumors, and DNA Computer Files

Tons of breakthroughs in genetic science this week, possible new physics, astronomers getting ready to snap a picture of our galaxy’s black hole, and more.

  • I talked about the science of burnout, what brain scans and spit tests can tell us about tired overachievers.
  • More than a double helix:  also exist in the human genome.
  • Swiss physicists measure the size of the proton using muons instead of electrons, and find an answer that is seven standard deviations different from previous measurements. ? (Part of me’s excited. The other part remembers the “faster than light” neutrinos.)
  • Old brains have trouble making new memories because , at least in this mouse study.
  • Leprosy spreads by .
  • Scientists are setting up a worldwide network of radio telescopes to , a picture that would be the first of its kind.
  • Scientists are making great strides when it comes to .
  • Subconscious race biases actually .
  • , allowing for early cancer detection.
  • By studying areas where insects infect trees, scientists find strong evidence that , even after controlling for a wide range of demographics.
  • Analyzing ancient DNA, scientists confirm that humans who lived in Beijing 40,000 years ago were . But another study also shows that Europeans are more closely .
  • Is that fill the universe?
  • that tugs on tiny objects using light.

This Week’s Science Book:

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind

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Burnt Out: What Spit Tests and Brain Scans Tell Us

Some estimates put the number of North Americans and Europeans suffering from burnout at about ten percent. The word “burnout” might sound like flimsy psychobabble, but science is showing us differences between the brains of people suffering from it, and those who don’t.

Some call it exhaustion depression, and others call it work stress, but what is really happening, and what can we do about it?

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Friday Roundup: Commercially Scalable Nanotubes, Solar Powered Vertebrates, and a Breakthrough for Biofuels

Yet another series of shocking discoveries this week:
  • I discussed the incredible overlap between memory and intelligence, and the controversy over whether intelligence can be trained.
  • Scientists discovered the first .
  • A has been presented.
  • At has a planet comparable in size to Earth.
  • Mathematicians are planning to launch an that eliminates publishers from the science publishing process.
  • The Mars rover Curiosity discovered compelling evidence that on our neighbor planet, increasing the number of places that life may have formed.
  • Scientists are , a crucial step toward quantum computing.
  • A three second interruption .
  • A it threatens fundamental cosmological assumptions.
  • at low enough costs that the process may soon be commercialized, dramatically cutting down on global warming emissions.

This Week’s Featured Book:

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

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