An Annoying Problem

rjlipton.wordpress.com – It’s the stupid questions that have some of the most surprising and interesting answers — Cory Doctorow ACM Turing Award source Robert Tarjan is well known to most—a Turing award …

Source: Heiko Dietrich, James B. Wilson. Polynomial-time isomorphism testing of groups of most finite orders. arXiv, 2021.

So metal: Newly discovered exoplanet is likely over 80 percent iron

arstechnica.com – It looks a lot like a hot version of the innermost planet in our Solar System.

Source: Kristine W. F. Lam, et al. GJ 367b: A dense, ultrashort-period sub-Earth planet transiting a nearby red dwarf star. Science, 2021.

Sex Ratios at Birth Linked to Pollutants

the-scientist.com – A large, long-term study across the US and Sweden finds potential correlations between specific pollutants and the proportions of male and female babies born.

Source: Yanan Long, Qi Chen, Henrik Larsson, Andrey Rzhetsky, Brendan Zietsch. Observable variations in human sex ratio at birth. PLOS Computational Biology, 2021.

'Xenobot' Living Robots Can Reproduce

the-scientist.com – Biological robots made from frog cells can replicate by smooshing loose cells into new robots -- a reproduction method not seen in any other organism.

Source: Sam Kriegman, Douglas Blackiston, Michael Levin, Josh Bongard. Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

People choose to learn about health, world news based on feelings, study finds

upi.com – People choose whether to seek or avoid information about their health, finances and personal traits based on how they think it will make them feel and how useful it is, a Nature Communications study found.

Source: Christopher. A. Kelly, Tali Sharot. Individual differences in information-seeking. Nature Communications, 2021.

Unmanned Aerial Drone Perfectly Mimics a Bird that can Grasp Objects, Perch on Branches

techtimes.com – Engineers from Stanford University developed a special drone that could copy a bird's behavior. Read more about how SNAG functions.

Source: W. R. T. Roderick, M. R. Cutkosky, D. Lentink. Bird-inspired dynamic grasping and perching in arboreal environments. Science Robotics, 2021.

Prints Long Thought to Be Bear Tracks May Have Been Made by Human Ancestor

nytimes.com – New research published in the journal Nature suggests that the prints, discovered in Tanzania in 1976, were left by an unidentified hominin, or early human ancestor, more than 3.6 million years ago.

Source: Ellison J. McNutt, et al. Footprint evidence of early hominin locomotor diversity at Laetoli, Tanzania. Nature, 2021.

The Hunt For Coronavirus Variants: How The New One Was Found And What We Know So Far

medicaldaily.com – Scientists find variants by sequencing samples from people that have tested positive for the virus.

Source: Ewen Callaway. Heavily mutated coronavirus variant puts scientists on alert. Nature, 2021.

New Australopithecus sediba bones suggest extinct hominin was bipedal

newscientist.com – The discovery of new Australopithecus sediba fossils mean we can now reconstruct most of the spine of one individual, and strengthen the case that the species was bipedal at least some of the time

Source: Scott A Williams, et al. New fossils of Australopithecus sediba reveal a nearly complete lower back. eLife, 2021.

Market in China’s Wuhan likely origin of Covid-19 outbreak, study finds

nbcnews.com – The first known Covid-19 case was a market vendor in the Chinese city of Wuhan, not an accountant who appeared to have no link to the market but whose case

Source: Dissecting the early COVID-19 cases in Wuhan. Science, .

Study finds daytime meals may reduce health risks linked to night shift work

nih.gov – Findings could lead to behavioral interventions to improve health of shift workers.

Source: Sarah L. Chellappa, et al. Daytime eating prevents internal circadian misalignment and glucose intolerance in night work. Science Advances, 2021.