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D-brief

How a Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants' Jaws to Deliver a Death Bite

By Jennifer Walter | July 18, 2019 4:31 pm

An ant infected by a cordyceps fungus with a stroma emerging from the back of its head. (Credit: David P. Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan/Wikimedia Commons)

Forget The Walking Dead – there’s a real zombie outbreak happening right now — though it’s more like the crawling dead.

Ants, moths, grasshoppers, wasps and hundreds of other species of insects regularly fall victim to a deadly parasite that hijacks their bodies and brains, causing strange behaviors and eventually leading them …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
MORE ABOUT: animals

D-brief

The Truth is Out There: Using VERITAS to Search for E.T.

By Korey Haynes | July 18, 2019 4:00 pm

The four VERITAS telescopes in Arizona will soon be used to hunt for alien communications. (Credit: The VERITAS collaboration)

Traditionally, the hunt for intelligent life in the universe has focused on radio signals from far off worlds. But scientists are turning to more varied types of signals, acknowledging that we have very little idea how a truly alien life-form might choose to communicate, either with themselves or us.

With that in mind, Breakthrough Listen, a program searching for …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

Three New ISS Crew Members to Launch on July 20

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | July 18, 2019 3:45 pm

(Credit: NASA)

Exactly 50 years after the first humans stepped foot on the
moon, three astronauts will blast off into space to join the current crew on
the International Space Station.

On July 20, NASA astronaut Drew Morgan, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, and Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Skvortsov, will launch from Kazakhstan around 12:28 EDT. After a four-hour orbit around Earth, the crew will travel the last two hours to the ISS, docking around 6:50 p.m. EDT. Two hours  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: human spaceflight

D-brief

Resveratrol, Compound in Red Wine, Could Help Astronauts Walk on Mars

By Lacy Schley | July 18, 2019 2:00 pm

(Credit: HappyRichStudio/Shutterstock)

The same stuff that’s been linked to red wine’s heart-health benefits could also someday help astronauts walk on Mars. In a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, researchers say that resveratrol, a compound found in wines, could lessen muscle loss on the long trip to Mars.

The Trouble With Traveling to Mars

Currently, a one-way trip to Mars will take something like nine months. To make the trek, whichever spacecraft astr …

D-brief

AI is Coming Closer to Deciphering Lost Languages

By Nathaniel Scharping | July 18, 2019 10:10 am

Researchers had a lucky break that helped them crack the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics, like the ones shown on this artifact. But many lost languages remain undeciphered, with no Rosetta Stone to point the way. (Credit: Zoran Karapancev/shutterstock)

Since the invention of writing several thousands of years ago, humans have come up with myriad scripts that turn the phonetic sounds of spoken languages into something visual. Most of these written languages have already been deciphered, from E …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Technology, top posts

D-brief

This New Virtual Reality Glove Lets You Grab Digital Objects

By Bill Andrews | July 18, 2019 8:00 am

The VR glove in action.(Credit: Song et al, Scientific Reports, (2019) 9:8988)

Our squishy human brains are notoriously easy to fool. Whether it’s optical illusions or more advanced trickery, it doesn’t take much to exploit our mind’s weaknesses. But, that’s also what enables virtual reality (VR) systems, where technology can effectively transport us to a digital world. And thanks to a newly developed VR glove, the effect might soon be better than ever.

A team of engineers in Kore …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: gadgets

Citizen Science Salon

Help scientists track extreme weather this week!

By cnickerson | July 17, 2019 6:35 pm

Tropical storms loom large over different parts of the globe, while extreme heat and droughts wreak havoc on other areas. Flash floods and landslides plague parts of India, as dust storms make it difficult to drive and breathe in the southwestern United States.

Extreme weather. We may feel powerless, but there are ways we can help scientists better predict these events and help provide warning systems. That’s empowering.

Stay safe.

The SciStarter Team

ISeeChange

 …

D-brief

Scientists Propose Dumping Absurd Amounts of Snow On Antarctica To Curb Sea Level Rise

By Roni Dengler | July 17, 2019 6:00 pm

A photo of Thwaites Glacier taken during a reconnaissance flight. (Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation)

Climate change is melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A recent swell in warm ocean water on the western side of the continent is eating away at two predominant glaciers, Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier. And the retreating glaciers mean the entire larger ice sheet could disintegrate, leading to a 10-foot rise in sea level around the world. This surge in water levels imperils …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: climate change

D-brief

SpaceX’s Starhopper Engulfed by Fireball During Test

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | July 17, 2019 5:06 pm

Starhopper sits at a test site in Texas earlier this year. (Credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX)

On Tuesday, SpaceX ran its second test of Starhopper, the prototype
for their enormous future passenger spacecraft. The static fire test was meant
to measure the Raptor engines that power the craft. But at the end of the five
second test, Starhopper was instead surrounded by an enormous fireball, as
shown in a video from the rural Texas test site gathered by Everyday Astronaut.

https://www.youtube.c …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

Scientists Start Developing a Mini Gravitational Wave Detector

By Korey Haynes | July 17, 2019 4:15 pm

Gravitational waves can be detected from the collision of massive objects in the universe, but also from much smaller objects like dark matter particles. (Credit: EPA/R. Hurt / Caltech-JPL)

In 2015, scientists made history by detecting the first gravitational waves — ripples in space-time predicted by Albert Einstein a century earlier. The waves were created by the merger of two black holes, each one much larger than the sun. And since then, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Obse …

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