162 articles from WEDNESDAY 22.6.2022

Electrical stimulation of the brain may help people who stutter

When Guillermo Mejias was 7 years old, his parents sent him out to buy bread during a family holiday in southern Spain. Mejias still remembers his growing anxiety as he walked to the bakery, repeating what he would say over and over in his head. But when the moment arrived, he was unable to produce a single word. He recalls returning empty-handed, ashamed, and wondering what to tell his...

NASA's Webb to uncover riches of the early universe

For decades, telescopes have helped us capture light from galaxies that formed as far back as 400 million years after the big bang—incredibly early in the context of the universe's 13.8-billion-year history. But what were galaxies like that existed even earlier, when the universe was semi-transparent at the beginning of a period known as the Era of Reionization? NASA's next flagship observatory,...

Curiosity captures stunning views of a changing Mars landscape

For the past year, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has been traveling through a transition zone from a clay-rich region to one filled with a salty mineral called sulfate. While the science team targeted the clay-rich region and the sulfate-laden one for evidence each can offer about Mars' watery past, the transition zone is proving to be scientifically fascinating as well. In fact, this transition may...

Where once were black boxes, a new statistical tool illuminates

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new statistical tool that they have used to predict protein function. Not only could it help with the difficult job of altering proteins in practically useful ways, but it also works by methods that are fully interpretable—an advantage over the conventional artificial intelligence (AI) that has aided with...

Wildfire threatens unspoiled Georgia island rich in history

Wildfires sparked by lightning have scorched hundreds of acres on this unspoiled island off the Georgia coast, where crews are battling to protect plantation ruins, the remnants of a 16th century Spanish mission and archaeological sites that have yielded human artifacts thousands of years old.

Indigenous communities used the Caribbean Sea as an aquatic highway

Researchers recently turned to pottery to tease apart the navigational history of the Caribbean, analyzing the composition of 96 fired clay fragments across 11 islands. The study was conducted in the Greater Antilles and marks the first time that pottery artifacts from the Lucayan Islands -- The Bahamas plus the Turks and Caicos Islands -- have been analyzed to determine their elemental...

Where once were black boxes, new LANTERN illuminates

A new statistical tool for predicting protein function could help with tasks ranging from producing biofuels to improving crops to developing new disease treatments. Not only could it help with the difficult job of altering proteins in practically useful ways, but it also works by methods that are fully interpretable -- an advantage over conventional AI.

Blood test developed to predict liver cancer risk

An estimated one-quarter of adults in the U.S. have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an excess of fat in liver cells that can cause chronic inflammation and liver damage, increasing the risk of liver cancer. Now researchers have developed a simple blood test to predict which NAFLD patients are most likely to develop liver cancer.

Research team documents first crows to survive deadly West Nile virus

West Nile virus may no longer be a death sentence to crows. In a new study from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, wildlife experts describe successfully treating and releasing five American crows infected with the deadly disease—the first known crows to survive West Nile virus.

Rescuing ancient Maya history from the plow

Things have changed since I was last in Belize in 2018, when I excavated the ancestral Maya pilgrimage site Cara Blanca. Thousands of acres of jungle are gone, replaced by fields of corn and sugarcane. Hundreds of ancestral Maya mounds are now exposed in the treeless landscape, covered by soil that is currently plowed several times a year.