Friday, September 11, 2020

science news 11.9.2020

Today's selection of science news. Links are normally to press releases on EurekAlert (at the bottom end I may also add a couple of newspaper stories). I include quotes from the summary in italics in cases where the title alone doesn't reveal what the story is about. My own thoughts appear without italics if I have any.


earth

66 million years of Earth's climate uncovered from ocean sediments

Understanding the 'deep-carbon cycle'
New geologic findings about the makeup of the Earth's mantle are helping scientists better understand long-term climate stability and even how seismic waves move through the planet's layers.


evolution

Coming up for air: Extinct sea scorpions could breathe out of water, fossil detective unveils


ecology

In the absence of otters, climate warming leads to Aleutian Reef decline
Sea otters prey on urchins and keep their population in check. When otters disappear, urchin populations explode, leading to overgrazing on kelp and a decline in kelp forests.


conservation

The surprising rhythms of Leopards: Females are early birds, males are nocturnal
After 10 months of camera surveillance in the Tanzanian rainforest, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have become the first to conclude that female and male leopards are active at very different times of the day. The discovery contradicts previous assumptions and could be used to help protect the endangered feline, whose populations have dwindled by 85 percent over the past century.


biomedical

Antibody responses in COVID-19 patients could guide vaccine design
The results show that the neutralizing activity of antibodies from recovered patients is typically not strong, and declines sharply within one month after hospital discharge.


environment

Multiphase buffering by ammonia explains wide range of atmospheric aerosol acidity
Anthropogenic ammonia emissions and the water content matter more than dry particle composition for the acidity of atmospheric aerosols in populated regions.


humans

Tel Aviv University study confirms widespread literacy in biblical-period kingdom of Judah
based on the identification of 12 different handwritings? I'm not sure I follow that conclusion. They could have rounded up the only 12 people in the kingdom who were able to write?



Examples of Hebrew ostraca from Arad.
Credit: Michael Cordonsky, TAU and the Israel Antiquities Authority

Addicted to the sun? Research shows it's in your genes
Sun-seeking behaviour is linked to genes involved in addiction, behavioural and personality traits and brain function, according to a study of more than 260,000 people led by King's College London researchers.


dystopian futures

Experiments reveal why human-like robots elicit uncanny feelings

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From the news media:

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