Where hominid brains are concerned, size doesn't matter

sciencedaily.com – Researchers pieced together traces of Homo naledi's brain shape from an extraordinary collection of skull fragments and partial crania, from at least five adult individuals. One of these bore a very clear imprint of the convolutions on the surface of the brain's left frontal lobe.

Source: Ralph L. Holloway, et al. Endocast morphology of Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Bitcoin Mining Puts Massive Strain on Electric Power

geek.com – The vast supply of electricity required to mine bitcoin is as contested as this weekend’s royal wedding. The energy-hungry cryptocurrency demands huge amounts of power to process peer-to-peer financial transactions. (Similarly, Meghan and …

Source: Alex de Vries. Bitcoin's Growing Energy Problem. Joule, 2018.

Green bones, green hearts, can’t lose: these lizards survive with toxic green blood

popsci.com – In New Guinea, lizards scurry around with green bones, green hearts, green tongues, and green blood. At least six species share this enigmatic trait.

Source: Zachary B. Rodriguez, Susan L. Perkins, Christopher C. Austin. Multiple origins of green blood in New Guinea lizards. Science Advances, 2018.

Trilobites: A Very Hungry Black Hole Is Found, Gorging on Stars

nytimes.com – Astronomers in Australia say they have discovered a fast-growing black hole swallowing stars in a baby galaxy 12 billion light years from here.

Source: Christian Wolf, et al. Discovery of the most ultra-luminous QSO using Gaia, SkyMapper and WISE. arXiv, 2018.

Uncovering Roman History With Ice Cores and Lead

discovermagazine.com – Lead levels in ice cores reveal the shifting fortunes of the Roman Empire.

Source: Joseph R. McConnell, et al. Lead pollution recorded in Greenland ice indicates European emissions tracked plagues, wars, and imperial expansion during antiquity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Origins of amphibian-killing fungus uncovered

bbc.com – A deadly fungus that has devastated amphibian populations worldwide probably originated in East Asia, new research suggests.

Source: Simon J. O’Hanlon, et al. Recent Asian origin of chytrid fungi causing global amphibian declines. Science, 2018.

Researchers claim to have transferred a memory between two sea slugs

arstechnica.com – Something was shifted that altered neural activity—was it a memory?

Source: Alexis Bédécarrats, Shanping Chen, Kaycey Pearce, Diancai Cai, David L. Glanzman. RNA from Trained Aplysia Can Induce an Epigenetic Engram for Long-Term Sensitization in Untrained Aplysia. eneuro, 2018.

Here's Why Mosquito Bites Itch for Such a Long Time

livescience.com – A new study found that our body's immune response could last up to seven days after a bite, which might give viruses more time to transmit and replicate.

Source: Megan B. Vogt, et al. Mosquito saliva alone has profound effects on the human immune system. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2018.

Neutrons measured with unprecedented precision using a 'magneto-gravitational trap'

eurekalert.org – Researchers at the IU Center for the Exploration of Energy and Matter have developed a highly accurate way to measure neutron decay rates. It could provide new insight into the state of the universe after the Big Bang.

Source: R. W. Pattie, et al. Measurement of the neutron lifetime using a magneto-gravitational trap and in situ detection. Science, 2018.

Study suggests one-third of protected wildlife areas under intense human stress

cbc.ca – A third of the world's protected areas for wildlife are suffering road-building, more farms and other man-made threats that are undermining goals to safeguard the diversity of life on Earth, scientists said on Thursday.

Source: Kendall R. Jones, et al. One-third of global protected land is under intense human pressure. Science, 2018.