Ships are illegally dumping plastic trash at sea, study suggests

cbc.ca – Trash thrown illegally from cargo ships is the likely source of thousands of plastic bottles washing up on a remote island in the South Atlantic, says a new study. That suggests more focus on littering at sea may be needed to tackle the ocean plastics problem.

Source: Peter G. Ryan, Ben J. Dilley, Robert A. Ronconi, Maëlle Connan. Rapid increase in Asian bottles in the South Atlantic Ocean indicates major debris inputs from ships. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

New Secrets from the Most Distant Object We've Ever Visited

popularmechanics.com – Somewhere in a frozen corner of our solar system lies Arrokoth, a relic from a mysterious time in the universe's history.

Source: W. M. Grundy, et al. Color, composition, and thermal environment of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth. Science, 2020.

New Secrets from the Most Distant Object We've Ever Visited

popularmechanics.com – Somewhere in a frozen corner of our solar system lies Arrokoth, a relic from a mysterious time in the universe's history.

Source: J. R. Spencer, et al. The geology and geophysics of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth. Science, 2020.

New Secrets from the Most Distant Object We've Ever Visited

popularmechanics.com – Somewhere in a frozen corner of our solar system lies Arrokoth, a relic from a mysterious time in the universe's history.

Source: W. B. McKinnon, et al. The solar nebula origin of (486958) Arrokoth, a primordial contact binary in the Kuiper Belt. Science, 2020.

West Africans Carry DNA from Mysterious Archaic Hominin

sci-news.com – Four West African populations -- Yoruba, Esan, Mende, and Gambian -- derive 2 to 19% of their genetic ancestry from a yet-undiscovered species of archaic hominin that diverged before the split of modern humans and the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans, according to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Source: Arun Durvasula, Sriram Sankararaman. Recovering signals of ghost archaic introgression in African populations. Science Advances, 2020.

Will That Antidepressant Work For You? The Answer May Lie In Your Brain Waves

npr.org – Scientists say certain brain wave patterns can predict whether a person is likely to respond to a common antidepressant, or would do better with non-drug therapy.

Source: Wei Wu, et al. An electroencephalographic signature predicts antidepressant response in major depression. Nature Biotechnology, 2020.

Biologists Solve Mystery of ‘Stinging Water’

sci-news.com – Snorkelers in mangrove forest waters inhabited by the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea xamachana report discomfort due to a sensation known as ‘stinging water.’

Source: Cheryl L. Ames, et al. Cassiosomes are stinging-cell structures in the mucus of the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea xamachana. Communications Biology, 2020.

Climate Change Pushing Bumblebees to Extinction

geek.com – Bumblebee species are declining in Asia, Europe, and North America. A new study from the University of Ottawa found that in the course of a single human generation, the likelihood of a bee …

Source: Peter Soroye, Tim Newbold, Jeremy Kerr. Climate change contributes to widespread declines among bumble bees across continents. Science, 2020.

Giant Bacteriophages Bridge Gap between Living Microbes and Viral Machines

sci-news.com – An international team of scientists has discovered 351 new species of bacteriophages with giant genomes and capabilities normally associated with living organisms, blurring the line between living microbes and viral machines.

Source: Basem Al-Shayeb, et al. Clades of huge phages from across Earth’s ecosystems. Nature, 2020.