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D-brief

Scientists Read the Sun’s History in Moon Rocks

By Korey Haynes | June 18, 2019 4:59 pm

Solar flares and coronal mass ejections were more common when the sun was younger, but it may still have been quieter than many other stars like it. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

Stars, like humans, are more volatile when they’re young. As sunlike stars mature past their first billion years, they all tend to slow in their rotation, eventually converging to roughly the same period we see now in our sun: about 27 days for a star the same mass as our sun.

But when stars are young, they rotate more q …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: sun

D-brief

Humans Are Probably Behind the Evolution of 'Puppy Dog Eyes'

By Jennifer Walter | June 18, 2019 4:53 pm

Dogs likely evolved the gesture in response to human pressure. (Credit: Fotyma/Shutterstock)

You know that look Fido gives you from underneath the dinner table? Those puppy dog eyes, researchers recently discovered, are something unique to domesticated dogs that evolved over the 30,000 or more years that we’ve coexisted.

In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers used dissections and behavioral analysis to compare the facial anatomy  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, evolution

The Crux

Understanding Microsleep — When Our Minds Are Both Asleep and Awake

By Megan Schmidt | June 18, 2019 2:33 pm

Seconds-long periods of sleep, known as “microsleep,” are common during mundane tasks like driving. While these unintended brain naps can be difficult to control, getting adequate sleep is the key to preventing them. (Credit: pathdoc/Shutterstock)

Have you ever spaced out during a meeting, but been jolted back to reality by the sound of your boss calling your name a few times? If you’ve ever been in this awkward situation, you might have experienced “microsleep.”

This weird state of con …

Dead Things

Fossil Find Is First Evidence Of Arctic Hyenas

By Gemma Tarlach | June 18, 2019 5:00 am

An artist’s rendering of ancient Arctic hyenas belonging to the genus Chasmaporthetes, now known to have roamed Canada’s Yukon Territory. (Credit: Julius T. Csotonyi)

You might associate hyenas with Africa’s sprawling savannas, but the animals were once right at home above the Arctic Circle.

Modern hyenas generally stick to Africa. (A decreasing number of one species, the striped hyena, can be found on the edges of southwestern Asia.) However, back in the day, various now-extinct sp …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Beringia, paleontology

Citizen Science Salon

It's Pollinator Week and we're all a-buzzzz!

By lshell | June 17, 2019 8:52 pm

This is a perfect week to make and share your pollinator observations with scientists. Our editors selected five projects in need of your help.

More about pollinators from Penn State’s website:”Pollinators are animals (primarily insect, but sometimes avian or mammalian) that fertilize plants, resulting in the formation of seeds and the fruit surrounding seeds. Humans and other animals rely on pollinators to produce nuts and fruits that are essential components of a healthy diet.”

So, …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

D-brief

Researchers Discover Urban Problems Plagued Even the Earliest Cities

By Roni Dengler | June 17, 2019 6:01 pm

Excavations at Çatalhöyük. (Credit: NiglaNik/Shutterstock)

In the mid-1960s, an English archaeologist discovered an enormous and ancient settlement called Çatalhöyük on the Konya Plain in south central Turkey. Wall paintings and figurines of humans and animals revealed a cultured community once lived there around 9000 years ago. Crowded houses and numerous graves revealed a growing and complex society. 

Researchers established the Çatalhöyük Research Project in the …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology

D-brief

Researchers Find Earliest Example of Merging Galaxies

By Korey Haynes | June 17, 2019 5:17 pm

An artist rendered their own view of what the merging galaxies might look like. (Credit: NAOJ)

Thirteen billion years ago, two galaxies collided to make something totally new. Each of those galaxies was among the universe’s first, since the cosmic clock had only been ticking for less than a billion years. As the galaxies’ dust and gas swirled together, new generations of stars were born, and their light began racing across the cosmos until it collided with the 66 radio telescopes that ma …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: galaxies

The Crux

Closing In On a Non-sugar Sweetener — One Without a Weird Aftertaste

By Kate Golembiewski | June 17, 2019 5:14 pm

(Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock)

The
first time someone synthesized saccharin, the artificial sweetener in Sweet’N
Low, it was an accident. A scientist studying coal tar in 1879 didn’t wash his
hands before eating dinner and was surprised to taste a sweet residue from the
lab on his fingertips. Same goes for the invention of the sweetener sodium
cyclamate in 1937: the unwitting pioneer, who was working on a fever medication,
put his cigarette down on the lab bench, and when he picked it …

MORE ABOUT: nutrition, plants

D-brief

SNAPSHOT: How Sediment Layers Reveal Earth's Ancient Climate Cycles

By Gemma Tarlach | June 17, 2019 5:11 pm

Colorized elevation map of a lakebed in New Jersey shows stripes of ancient sediment deposits. The deposits are tied to cycles of wet and dry climates throughout Earth’s history. (Credit: LIDAR image, US Geological Survey; digital colorization by Paul Olsen)

Ribbons of blue — the modern Raritan and Neshanic rivers — slice across a landscape that’s key to understanding Earth’s deep-time climate cycles. This colorized elevation map captures a 40-square-mile chunk of an ancient lakebe …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: geology

ImaGeo

The globe just experienced its second warmest March through May since at least 1880

By Tom Yulsman | June 17, 2019 2:11 pm

Overall, the global mean temperature during March through May was 1.02 °C warmer than the 1951-1980 average. This made it the second warmest such period in records dating back to 1880. (Source: NASA GISS)

March through May — spring in the Northern Hemisphere — was the second warmest such period in records dating back to 1880, according to a new analysis out today from NASA.

On its own, the month of May was third warmest.

The map above shows how temperatures around the world vari …

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