Astronomers find the fastest spinning black hole to date

livescience.com – The first black hole ever discovered just put on a lot of mass, and it has astronomers confused.

Source: James C. A. Miller-Jones, et al. Cygnus X-1 contains a 21–solar mass black hole—Implications for massive star winds. Science, 2021.

Our ancestors left Africa both with and without modern brains

arstechnica.com – The genus Homo originated with a brain that still had ape-like features.

Source: Marcia S. Ponce de León, et al. The primitive brain of early Homo. Science, 2021.

People are bad at spotting simple solutions to problems

newscientist.com – We tend to default to solving problems by adding features rather than removing them, potentially failing to recognise efficient solutions that involve simplification

Source: Gabrielle S. Adams, Benjamin A. Converse, Andrew H. Hales, Leidy E. Klotz. People systematically overlook subtractive changes. Nature, 2021.

Una partícula diminuta podría alterar las leyes de la física

nytimes.com – No es el próximo bosón de Higgs, todavía. Pero la mejor explicación, según los físicos, tiene que ver con formas de materia y energía no conocidas actualmente por la ciencia.

Source: Sz. Borsanyi, et al. Leading hadronic contribution to the muon magnetic moment from lattice QCD. Nature, 2021.

A third of Antarctic ice shelves could collapse at current pace of warming

livescience.com – The difference between 2 degrees and 4 degrees of warming is measured in millions of gigatons of ice.

Source: E. Gilbert, C. Kittel. Surface melt and runoff on Antarctic ice shelves at 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C of future warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 2021.

Living robots made from frog skin cells can sense their environment

newscientist.com – Xenobots, named after the frog species Xenopus laevis that the cells come from, were first described last year. Now the team behind the robots has improved their design and demonstrated new capabilities

Source: Douglas Blackiston, et al. A cellular platform for the development of synthetic living machines. Science Robotics, 2021.

NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World. Are They Also Fueling Climate Change?

nytimes.com – Making the digital artworks requires colossal amounts of computing power, and that means greenhouse gases.

Source: Shangrong Jiang, et al. Policy assessments for the carbon emission flows and sustainability of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China. Nature Communications, 2021.

Plastic Is Falling From the Sky. But Where’s It Coming From?

wired.com – At any given time, 1,100 tons of microplastic are floating over the western US. New modeling shows the surprising sources of the nefarious pollutant.

Source: Janice Brahney, et al. Constraining the atmospheric limb of the plastic cycle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

Human brain organoids grown in cheap 3D-printed bioreactor

newscientist.com – It is now possible to grow and culture human brain tissue in a device that costs little more than the price of a cup of coffee

Source: Ikram Khan, et al. A low-cost 3D printed microfluidic bioreactor and imaging chamber for live-organoid imaging. Biomicrofluidics, 2021.

IU School of Medicine researchers develop blood test for depression, bipolar disorder

eurekalert.org – Worldwide, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a depressive episode in their lifetime. While current diagnosis and treatment approaches are largely trial and error, a breakthrough study by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers sheds new light on the biological basis of mood disorders, and offers a promising blood test aimed at a precision medicine approach to treatment.

Source: H. Le-Niculescu, et al. Precision medicine for mood disorders: objective assessment, risk prediction, pharmacogenomics, and repurposed drugs. Molecular Psychiatry, 2021.

Can 5G Cell Phone Tech Eventually Bring Us Tesla's Wireless Electricity?

science20.com – At the height of his career, the pioneering electrical engineer Nikola Tesla became obsessed with an idea.

Source: Aline Eid, Jimmy G. D. Hester, Manos M. Tentzeris. 5G as a wireless power grid. Scientific Reports, 2021.