Friday Roundup: World Doesn’t End, New State of Matter Discovered, Mothers Choose Child’s Sex

Science news from across the web for the week:

  • Placing my bet: world doesn’t end today.
  • There may be a planet in the habitable zone of Tau Ceti, only 12 light years away. If true, this means the universe is probably teaming with such planets.
  • Scientists have officially discovered a new state of matter called quantum spin liquid. While physically solid, the electron spin state of the material acts like a liquid. Long range quantum entanglement occurs in the material, a property that could revolutionize data storage, computation, and communication.
  • This is bizarre. Billionaire sons tend to father more children when they become adults. So, as an evolutionary strategy, a billionaire mother’s body apparently causes her to have more sons than daughters.
  • One of the top 100 science stories for 2012: the original fruit fly experiment that promoted the idea of males as sexually active and females as choosy or sexually passive was flawed. The experiment, which has been cited as a principle by many biologists since, should never have been interpreted the way it was. Now many biologists are questioning whether this bias has allowed other experiments to slip through the cracks.
  • A recently discovered spider creates an elaborate decoy of itself.
  • A lens made from carbon nanotubes creates ultra-thin beams of sound that could be used as a scalpel in the future.
  • Archaeologists have discovered what appears to be Europe’s first civilization, possibly dating as far back as 6000 BC.

Featured Science Book This Week:

Planetfall: New Solar System Visions