Thermoelectric Device Generates Light from ‘Darkness of Space’

sci-news.com – A thermoelectric generator device developed by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University harnesses the cold darkness of space without active heat input, generating electricity that powers LEDs at night.

Source: Aaswath P. Raman, Wei Li, Shanhui Fan. Generating Light from Darkness. Joule, 2019.

Simple Tool Evaluates Mask Performance at Blocking Droplets

the-scientist.com – A proof-of-concept study finds some commonly used facial coverings may perform worse than no mask at all.

Source: Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech. Science Advances, 2020.

Red bricks can be charged, store energy

upi.com – Chemists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a method for converting red bricks, the ubiquitous building material, into "smart bricks" that can be charged and store energy like a battery.

Source: Hongmin Wang, et al. Energy storing bricks for stationary PEDOT supercapacitors. Nature Communications, 2020.

Claims of 'Ocean' inside Ceres May Not Hold Water

sciam.com – Final results from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft suggest a brine reservoir exists within the dwarf planet, but some experts remain unconvinced

Source: M. C. De Sanctis, et al. Fresh emplacement of hydrated sodium chloride on Ceres from ascending salty fluids. Nature Astronomy, 2020.

Genomic analysis suggests climate change caused the extinction of wooly rhinos

upi.com – New genomic analysis suggests the decline of the wooly rhinos across ancient Siberia was triggered by climate change, not by overhunting.

Source: Edana Lord, et al. Pre-extinction Demographic Stability and Genomic Signatures of Adaptation in the Woolly Rhinoceros. Current Biology, 2020.

Astronomers have found our Milky Way’s galactic twin

digitaltrends.com – Astronomers have spotted an oddity from the ancient universe: An extremely distant young galaxy which looks unexpectedly similar to our Milky Way.

Source: F. Rizzo, et al. A dynamically cold disk galaxy in the early Universe. Nature, 2020.

Humans have been cremating the dead since at least 7,000 B.C.

upi.com – Cremation is a truly ancient practice. New research suggests humans have been turning the dead to ashes for at least 9,000 years.

Source: Fanny Bocquentin, et al. Emergence of corpse cremation during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Southern Levant: A multidisciplinary study of a pyre-pit burial. PLOS ONE, 2020.

Pheromones rally locust swarms, but they could also be used against them

zmescience.com – Locust swarms threaten food security for millions of people. But the same biology that makes them so dangerous could be used against them.

Source: Xiaojiao Guo, et al. 4-Vinylanisole is an aggregation pheromone in locusts. Nature, 2020.

Making Sense of ‘One of the Most Baffling Animals That Ever Lived’

nytimes.com – Important mysteries have been solved about a reptile with a giraffe-like neck that hunted prey 242 million years ago.

Source: Stephan N.F. Spiekman, et al. Aquatic Habits and Niche Partitioning in the Extraordinarily Long-Necked Triassic Reptile Tanystropheus. Current Biology, 2020.