140 articles from FRIDAY 22.9.2023

‘Mind-boggling’ sea creature spotted off Japan has finally been identified

When Ryo Minemizu, a professional underwater photographer, posted photos of an elegant ladybug-size flittering creature off Okinawa, Japan, in 2018, biologists were baffled . It wasn’t a worm, a mollusk, or a crustacean. What was it? No one knew. One of those intrigued was Igor Adameyko, a developmental neurobiologist at the Medical University of...

OSIRIS-REx prepares to deliver Bennu asteroid samples — and start its next mission

Imagine arriving back at Earth after traveling through space for seven years, tirelessly transmitting images and hauling back rock samples from the diamond-shaped asteroid 101955 Bennu. Time for vacation, right? Hardly for intrepid OSIRIS-REx. This Sunday, Sept. 24, the craft’s primary mission will culminate when it swings by Earth and drops off the largest setContinue reading "OSIRIS-REx...

Mars Sample Return got a new price tag. It’s big

NASA’s audacious Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission has serious technical flaws and “unrealistic” assumptions about its budget and timetable, an independent review found in a report released yesterday . Originally estimated to cost some $4 billion, the reviewers found that NASA’s share of the mission could end up costing between $8 billion to $11 billion,...

Negative 'retweets' appear to add to voter fraud conspiracy theories

A team of behavioral scientists using big data and a simulation-based model to analyze social media "tweets" around the 2020 presidential election found that the spread of voter fraud conspiracy theories on Twitter (now called X) was boosted by a negativity bias. Led by Mason Youngblood, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Advanced Computational Science at Stony Brook University,...

Q&A: Is hopelessness a US public health crisis?

How can the world's wealthiest country be so poor in hope? It's a question that a University of Maryland economist is asking about the United States, where unprecedented levels of despair have manifested in a national mental health crisis, a surge in opioid abuse and suicide, and increased workforce dropout.

From 'Money Heist' to 'Squid Game': The 'glocal' strategy that keeps Netflix afloat

Money Heist is the most watched Spanish series of all time thanks to Netflix, which launched it internationally after purchasing it from Atresmedia. The last episode premiered in autumn 2021, a few weeks after the North American company began broadcasting Squid Game, the South Korean series that became the most viewed content on the platform. These successes are no coincidence.

Fruit flies offer clues to how brains make reward-based decisions

New research finds fruit flies make decisions based on their expectations about the likelihood of a reward and pinpoints the site in the fly brain where these value adjustments are made, enabling researchers to directly test a theory about how the brain enables this behavior on the level of neural circuits.

New research adds evidence to the benefits of ginger supplements for treating autoimmune diseases

New research has revealed a potentially important role ginger supplements can play in controlling inflammation for people living with autoimmune diseases. The research focused on studying the impact of ginger supplementation on a type of white blood cell called the neutrophil. The study was especially interested in neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, also known as NETosis, and what it...

Pollen analysis suggests peopling of Siberia and Europe by modern humans occurred during a major Pleistocene warming spell

A new study appearing in Science Advances compares Pleistocene vegetation communities around Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia, to the oldest archeological traces of Homo sapiens in the region. The researchers use the 'remarkable evidence' to tell a compelling story from 45,000-50,000 years ago with new detail: how the first humans migrated across Europe and Asia.

Probing the deep genetic structure of Africa

Using ancestry decomposition techniques an international research team has revealed a deeply divergent ancestry among admixed populations from the Angolan Namib desert. This unique genetic heritage brings the researchers closer to understanding the distribution of genetic variation in the broader region of southern Africa before the spread of food production.

Eliminate malaria once and for all or it will come back stronger, UN warned

World faces ‘malaria emergency’ from resistance to insecticides, waning efficacy of drugs, funding shortfalls and climate changeAfrican leaders have warned that the world is facing the “biggest malaria emergency” of the past two decades.Heads of state and experts came together in a show of unity to call for urgent action on malaria at the UN general assembly on Friday, saying progress on...