A Last-Minute Science Dash to an Erupting Volcano

the-scientist.com – Researchers plan an oceanographic expedition to understand why a phytoplankton bloom developed as molten lava flowed into the sea east of Hawaii's Big Island.

Source: Samuel T. Wilson, et al. Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom in the North Pacific Ocean. Science, 2019.

Scientists find the earliest evidence of ancient human interbreeding

zmescience.com – About 700,000 years ago, the common ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals interbred with an archaic human population.

Source: Alan R. Rogers, Nathan S. Harris, Alan A. Achenbach. Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestors interbred with a distantly related hominin. Science Advances, 2020.

The New Horizons spacecraft just revealed secrets of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

popsci.com – Not only did New Horizons achieve a next-to flawless flyby of Arrokoth, the most distant object ever visited, but buried in its gigabytes of data—which have been trickling back to Earth ever since the New Year’s Day 2019 rendezvous—lies empirical evidence that strikes against a classic theory of how planets form.

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

The New Horizons spacecraft just revealed secrets of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

popsci.com – Not only did New Horizons achieve a next-to flawless flyby of Arrokoth, the most distant object ever visited, but buried in its gigabytes of data—which have been trickling back to Earth ever since the New Year’s Day 2019 rendezvous—lies empirical evidence that strikes against a classic theory of how planets form.

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

Bumblebees can recognize objects across different senses

upi.com – According to a new study, published Friday in the journal Science, bumblebees can learn about an object using one sense and recognize it later using another.

Source: Cwyn Solvi, Selene Gutierrez Al-Khudhairy, Lars Chittka. Bumble bees display cross-modal object recognition between visual and tactile senses. Science, 2020.

This new device seems to pull electricity out of thin air

popsci.com – The small-scale generator could hold thrilling possibilities for future renewables.

Source: Xiaomeng Liu, et al. Power generation from ambient humidity using protein nanowires. Nature, 2020.

The New Horizons spacecraft just revealed secrets of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

popsci.com – Not only did New Horizons achieve a next-to flawless flyby of Arrokoth, the most distant object ever visited, but buried in its gigabytes of data—which have been trickling back to Earth ever since the New Year’s Day 2019 rendezvous—lies empirical evidence that strikes against a classic theory of how planets form.

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

Study reveals how low oxygen levels in the heart predispose people to cardiac arrhythmias

eurekalert.org – Low oxygen levels in the heart have long been known to produce life-threatening arrhythmias, even sudden death. Until now, it was not clear how. New findings, in a study led by Steve A. N. Goldstein, MD, PhD, vice chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of California, Irvine, and distinguished professor in the UCI School of Medicine Departments of Pediatrics and Physiology & Biophysics, reveal the underlying mechanism for this dangerous heart disorder.

Source: Leigh D. Plant, Dazhi Xiong, Jesus Romero, Hui Dai, Steve A.N. Goldstein. Hypoxia Produces Pro-arrhythmic Late Sodium Current in Cardiac Myocytes by SUMOylation of NaV1.5 Channels. Cell Reports, 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.