Three New Studies Provide More Complete Picture of Physical Nature of Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth

sci-news.com – On January 1, 2019, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) Arrokoth -- provisional designation 2014 MU69, previously nicknamed ‘Ultima Thule’ -- at a distance of 3,538 km (2,200 miles). In three new studies published in the journal Science, researchers analyzed new data and images from the historic flyby.

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

Neanderthals were eating mussels, fish, seals 80K years ago

upi.com – Scientists have found evidence that Neanderthals were consuming mussels, fish, seals and other marine species at least 80,000 years ago.

Source: J. Zilhão, et al. Last Interglacial Iberian Neandertals as fisher-hunter-gatherers. Science, 2020.

Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?

theguardian.com – Scientists are tracing the path of Sars-CoV-2 from a wild animal host – but we also need to look at the part played in the outbreak by industrial food production

Source: Peng Zhou, et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature, 2020.

'Whiskey Webs' Could Be Used To Identify Counterfeit Spirits

science20.com – When a drop of liquid evaporates, solids are left behind in a pattern that depends on what the liquid is, what solids are in it and the environmental conditions. You may have seen a 'coffee ring' when overflow deposits solids along the edge of the puddle as it evaporates. The same things happen with other beverages.

Source: Adam D. Carrithers, et al. Multiscale Self-Assembly of Distinctive Weblike Structures from Evaporated Drops of Dilute American Whiskeys. ACS Nano, 2020.

Researchers find oldest ancestor of all animals so far

zmescience.com – It's tiny.

Source: Scott D. Evans, Ian V. Hughes, James G. Gehling, Mary L. Droser. Discovery of the oldest bilaterian from the Ediacaran of South Australia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Milky Way Dark Matter Signals in Doubt after Controversial New Papers

sciam.com – New analyses question whether mysterious gamma-ray and x-ray light in the galaxy actually stems from an invisible mass

Source: Christopher Dessert, Nicholas L. Rodd, Benjamin R. Safdi. The dark matter interpretation of the 3.5-keV line is inconsistent with blank-sky observations. Science, 2020.

Engineers test a powered 'ankle exoskeleton' to make running easier

engadget.com – Ankle exoskeletons could help you run longer and faster and even serve as a new mode of transportation, according to a team of Stanford University engineers. The engineers tested a motorized exoskeleton rig that attaches around the ankle and foot and found that it made running 15 percent easier. They explained that when the exoskeleton's motor is switched on, it reduces the energy cost of running and allows the user to run longer than they're usually capable of. The device can also boost a...

Source: Kirby A. Witte, Pieter Fiers, Alison L. Sheets-Singer, Steven H. Collins. Improving the energy economy of human running with powered and unpowered ankle exoskeleton assistance. Science Robotics, 2020.

Can we trust the Oxford study on Covid-19 infections? | Adam Kucharski

theguardian.com – We don’t know exactly how many people have already been infected with the virus, but there’s no evidence it’s half the population, says epidemiologist and author Adam Kucharski

Source: Joseph T Wu, Kathy Leung, Gabriel M Leung. Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study. The Lancet, 2020.

Scientists unveil smaller, more powerful brain-machine interface

upi.com – Researchers have developed a new brain-machine interface that allows the human brain to link directly with silicon-based technologies.

Source: Abdulmalik Obaid, et al. Massively parallel microwire arrays integrated with CMOS chips for neural recording. Science Advances, 2020.