157 articles from FRIDAY 1.12.2023

Ancient redwoods recover from fire by sprouting 1000-year-old buds

When lightning ignited fires around California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park north of Santa Cruz in August 2020, the blaze spread quickly. Redwoods naturally resist burning, but this time flames shot through the canopies of 100-meter-tall trees, incinerating the needles. “It was shocking,” says Drew Peltier, a tree ecophysiologist at Northern Arizona University. “It really...

JWST detects methane in atmosphere of scorching hot WASP-80 b

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has just detected methane in the atmosphere of exoplanet WASP-80 b — and it has both little and everything to do with how we might someday find life in the cosmos. In research published Nov. 22 in Nature, a NASA-affiliated team reported the detection of methane in the atmosphereContinue reading "JWST detects methane in atmosphere of scorching hot WASP-80 b"...

Can preeclampsia be prevented?

Preeclampsia is a mysterious condition that occurs in about one of 10 pregnancies without any early warning signs. After 20 weeks or more of normal blood pressure during the pregnancy, patients with preeclampsia will begin to experience elevated blood pressure and may also have increased levels of protein in their urine due to hypertension reducing the filtering power of the kidneys. Prolonged...

Pathogens use force to breach immune defenses, study finds

New research has revealed a previously unknown process through which pathogens are able to defeat a cell's defense mechanisms with physical force. The discovery represents a potential game-changer in the fight against intracellular pathogens, which cause infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and chlamydia.

Human behavior guided by fast changes in dopamine levels

A new study shows that dopamine release in the human brain plays a crucial role in encoding both reward and punishment prediction errors. This means that dopamine is involved in the process of learning from both positive and negative experiences, allowing the brain to adjust and adapt its behavior based on the outcomes of these experiences.

Ghostlike dusty galaxy reappears in James Webb Space Telescope image

Astronomers studying images from the James Webb Space Telescope have identified an object as a 'dusty star-forming galaxy' from nearly 1 billion years after the Big Bang. They have also discovered more than a dozen additional candidates, suggesting these galaxies might be three to 10 times as common as expected. If that conclusion is confirmed, it suggests the early universe was much dustier than...

Aging societies more vulnerable to collapse

Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. A new study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that the resilience of political states decreases over time. 

Social media influencers may affect more than voter opinions

If Thanksgiving dinner conversations have turned into heated political arguments over the past two decades, social media may be to blame. Popular social media figures—or influencers—who create or share distorted political messages may cause political parties to moderate their policies to win over independent voters in general elections but tend to polarize the rest of society, according to...

Shrinking particle accelerators with cold plasma and a large picnic basket

Twenty-five feet below ground, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory scientist Spencer Gessner opens a large metal picnic basket. This is not your typical picnic basket filled with cheese, bread and fruit—it contains screws, bolts, steel tubing, and many other parts and pieces that carry particles to nearly the speed of light. The components are arranged precisely to do an important job: help...

The Andromeda and Milky Way collision, explained

The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at nearly a quarter million miles per hour. It is the closet major galaxy to our Milky Way and is the most distant thing you can see with the naked eye at 2.5 million light years away. Absolute chaos will begin as the two galaxies approach eachContinue reading "The Andromeda and Milky Way collision, explained" The post The Andromeda and Milky Way...

Scientists navigate uncharted waters in fish immunology research

Upon infection or immunization, all jawed vertebrate species generate proteins called antibodies that bind and neutralize pathogens. Strong and long-lasting antibody responses in warm-blooded species such as mammals are produced in secondary lymphoid microstructures (SLMs) among which germinal centers (GCs) are the centerpiece.

Alien intelligence is surely worth shining a light on | Letters

Readers respond to a piece about Harvard’s Avi Loeb and his explorations into extraterrestrial lifeAvi Loeb’s scientific approach, including Times Square billboards, would fit perfectly into a story by Arthur C Clarke (The alien hunter: has Harvard’s Avi Loeb found proof of extraterrestrial life?, 29 November). Clarke, who predicted the use of satellites for communication and co-created...

Scientists work to bring tissue regeneration to replace root canal treatment

Scientists are testing a novel technology to treat endodontic diseases more effectively through tissue regeneration instead of root canal therapy. Because the technology promotes formation of the type of stem cells that can differentiate into dentin (tooth), bone, cartilage or fat, it has huge potential for the field of regenerative medicine beyond the tissues in the teeth. It could be used to...