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: four-stranded segments of DNA 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. Could it be experimental error, or new physics? (Part of me’s excited. The other part remembers the “faster than light” neutrinos.)
- Old brains have trouble making new memories because they have trouble writing over old ones, at least in this mouse study.
- Leprosy spreads by turning nerve cells into stem cells.
- Scientists are setting up a worldwide network of radio telescopes to snap a picture of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, a picture that would be the first of its kind.
- Scientists are making great strides when it comes to storing computer data in DNA segments.
- Subconscious race biases actually change the way that our brains store people’s faces.
- Firefly genes cause tumors to glow, allowing for early cancer detection.
- By studying areas where insects infect trees, scientists find strong evidence that exposure to trees is good for human health, 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 more closely related to modern Asians and Native Americans. But another study also shows that Europeans are more closely related to Native Americans than we might think.
- Is Earth crashing through walls of dark matter that fill the universe?
- Scientists develop a medical “tractor beam” 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