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Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Female Scientists Focus On A Secret Weapon To Fight Climate Change (The Washington Post)

When mothers want to protect their children and make sure their futures are great, most women will do anything they have to in order to make that happen. That includes Climate Researcher Katherine Hayhoe who decided to team up with 5 other women (all mothers) to work with a marketing firm called Potential Energy. This was in an effort to launch Science Moms, which is a $10 Million campaign to educate and empower mothers to do something about climate change.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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They began getting small televised advertisements in states across the country, including North Carolina, Arizona, and Wisconsin. While you do not have to be a mother to care about protecting the Earth, it is great that moms want to educate other mothers. This will only turn into a larger effort to make the next generation care more about climate change. In the end, one thing is clear to Katherine and the other mothers. “Moms trust moms,” which is a powerful message, to say the least.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Earth’s Oceans Are Storing A Record Amount Of Heat (Science News)

What if we told you that the Earth’s oceans absorbed enough heat to boil 1.3 million kettles of water in 2020? Would you think that this was a bit too much heat? Scientists have been measuring the temperature of the Earth’s oceans since 1955. They claimed that this was the hottest temperature ever recorded since they began yearly measurement. Why is this important or even newsworthy, right? Who cares if the Earth’s oceans are warming? Well, YOU might want to care.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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When ocean water warms up, it melts off more and more ice from the edges of Greenland and Antarctica. This makes sea levels rise while also supercharging tropical storms. When measuring, researchers found that the waters contained 234 sextillion joules more heat energy in 2020 than in their annual averages taken from 1981 to 2010. It is even up 20 sextillion joules from the 2019 rate! Just imagine that for a second and consider how next year might look and the years following.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists Have Sequenced Dire Wolf DNA (Wired)

While some assume that Dire Wolves were made up for fantasy movies and television, they actually did exist. It lived during the Pleistocene Epoch and was believed to have gone extinct around 12,000 years ago. Recent research published by scientists claims that they have sequenced dire wolf DNA. Of course, many assumed dire wolves were a sister species to the gray wolf. According to the paper’s lead author, Angela Perri, who is an archeologist with Durham University, this is not true at all.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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In fact, dire wolves are very different from other canine creatures. After analyzing DNA from five fossilized remains, they found that they split from other wolves at least 6 million years ago. In fact, they found that they are as close to gray wolves as humans are to chimpanzees. Which shows a huge difference. Why did they go extinct? Unlike other canines that could hybridize to the times, Dire Wolves simply could not. This is why wolves and coyotes made it just fine and dire wolves died out.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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First Life Could Have Evolved On Ancient Islands (Live Science)

While many know the story of Pangea (the world’s sole continent), it is possible that the Earth used to be an island world in its earlier days. The origin of life on Earth is controversial, as there are several religious concepts on top of those proposed and often proven by scientists. Regardless, neither side has every answer but we are uncovering more information as time goes on, including how the first life on Earth could have evolved from warm pools of water on islands among a planet-wide ocean.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists confirmed that the oldest life known came about 3.5 billion years ago, just a billion years after the planet formed. We do know that life requires some basic, universal things. That includes amino acids and nucleotides chemically reacting. Thus forming complex molecules and proteins like RNA and DNA. This happens via polymerization, which requires specific temperatures. Some scientists think life just emerged from hydrothermal vents, while some believe it happened at the edges of shallow ponds that were heated by geothermal energy.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists “Program” Living Bacteria To Store Data (Science Magazine)

Even magazines can contain important science headlines. Today, we know hard discs store lots of digital data at the press of a button. Yet like all technology, soon we are going to have better and more advanced material. That might even make old tech impossible to use on new tech. That said, DNA in our bodies ages with us. New tech might miss some important material unless we come up with a way to get data into our DNA.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Researchers seem to have done just that as they found a way to electronically write data into the DNA of living bacteria. It is believed that this could be a very useful future-proof option for storage. DNA is 1,000 times denser than any known hard drive and you could store up to 10 full-length movies within the volume of a grain of salt. Imagine how much remaining storage will be present. Due to DNA being important to biology, tech to read and write on it will get cheaper as time goes on.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists Decry Death By 1,000 Cuts For World’s Insects (NBC News)

Sometimes, science headlines like this seem to catch our attention for an important cause. While insects might annoy us at times, especially those darn gnats in the summer, they are all important to the world’s ecosystem. Losing them, especially those that do important jobs, could result in huge problems for the Earth at large. A huge package of 12 studies was published recently, involving scientists all around the world. They came to one consensus, insects are being threatened.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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This might not seem like a big deal but it is a HUGE issue for the Earth overall. It is being said that the world’s insects are undergoing a “death by a thousand cuts.” The study’s lead author, University of Connecticut Entomologist David Wagner,  referenced that they found that climate change, insecticides, herbicides, pollution, invasive species, and agricultural/land-use changes have led to their downfall. If insects die off, it could drastically affect specific plants and the diet of many animals.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Invasive Brown Tree Snakes Stun Scientists With Amazing New Climbing Tactic (Smithsonian Magazine)

Science headlines about invasive animal species are becoming quite regular sadly. However, sometimes these species can surprise us with new abilities we never knew they could pull off. The Brown Tree Snake has been quite a problem in Guam, as it has truly hurt the bird population on the island. While many knew that the snake could climb already (it is a tree snake obviously), we did not know all the techniques they used to climb.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Recently, scientists saw that they lasso their bodies around poles in order to propel their bodies upward. How did they even find this out? Apparently, an infrared CCTV-like camera was set up near a nest. It was not really present to catch the snake but rather, to monitor the birds. They found that the snake looped its body around a duct pipe and climbed to the top in about 15 minutes. Which was a first for biologists.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Desert Geckos Glow Neon Green In The Moonlight, Scientists Discover (Live Science)

Science headlines about animals are always cool because you find out about something new regarding them. In this story, we find out that the web-footed geckos in the Namib desert glow with fluorescent neon-green light. The light glows along its flank and around the eye when under a strong ultraviolet light. Of course, we know reptiles and amphibians have produced fluorescence in the past. Typically, it comes from their bones or a chemical secretion in their skin.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Yet for the web-footed gecko species, they actually generate the glow by using skin pigment cells, which are filled with guanine crystals. The cells are referred to officially as “iridophores” and they have been linked to color display patterns in other gecko and lizard species. However, this was the first known evidence that the cells can also allow them to glow in the dark too.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists Show What Loneliness Looks Like In The Brain (Science Daily)

We all know that loneliness can be quite difficult on humans as well as several different animal species. However, it has also been found in recent science headlines that scientists can now show us what loneliness does to the brain. Studies have been conducted on how loneliness impacts humans for years, but we now know that lonely people differ from other humans in some very distinct fundamental ways.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Researchers from the United Kingdom used MRI data, genetics, and psychological self-assessments of roughly 40,000 middle-aged and older adult volunteers. Their information was stored in the UK Biobank, an open-access database available to scientists all over the world. The researchers analyzed data from those who claimed to be lonely with those that did not. Several differences were present, mostly in brain regions that control inner thoughts called default networks. Lonely people showed stronger grey matter volume in these networks along with differences in nerve fibers and much more.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Marie Tharp’s Groundbreaking Maps Brought The Seafloor To The World (Science News)

Sometimes science headlines do not always have to do with something that happened recently. It can also involve studies that only enhance previously known information. Marie Tharp was heavily undervalued in her time. In her era, women were slowly becoming more respected in the scientific community but it was still not easy. She actually completed a map of the seafloor in 1977 that still holds up as a massive asset for microbiologists and many more.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Her map was a bit controversial in its time. Scientists were 50/50 on something known as “the continental drift” at the time, which claimed the continents are not in a fixed place. Tharp’s research made people change their minds and accept the concept, paving the way for the theory of plate tectonics. Many women struggled to get opportunities in several scientific fields, yet there were doors cracked in her field of geology and cartography. She’d take full advantage of it, thankfully!

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Top Scientists Warn Of ‘Ghastly Future Of Mass Extinction’ And Climate Disruption (The Guardian)

Science headlines having to deal with mass extinction seem to be commonplace these days. However, sometimes there is a report that holds too much truth to be overlooked. 17 experts including the author of The Population Bomb, Stanford University Professor Paul Ehrlich, connected from all over the world to reference a huge problem. They claim that the planet is in a worse state than even scientists previously understood.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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This all comes down to a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate-disruption upheavals that threaten human survival because of ignorance and inaction” according to their findings. They even claim that people have not been grasping the urgency of the planet’s biodiversity nor the climate crisis. They went on to say that “the scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms – including humanity – is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts.”

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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A Distant Galaxy Is Flaring With Strange Regularity, And Scientists Have Figured Out Why(Science Alert)

In case you’re like us, you’ve probably been hoping for science headlines to come about that answer questions you’ve had for a while. Thankfully, that was what we saw here. We knew that every 114 days a galaxy roughly 570 million lightyears away randomly lights up like the Grizwald home from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It was never really confirmed why this happened. However, astronomers have now managed to figure out why!

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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After several studies, researchers found that at the center of the galaxy ESO 253-G003, a supermassive black hole orbits a star that gives us this amazing flare of light across multiple wavelengths. Scientists even gave it the nickname “Old Faithful” due to this. Originally, it was thought that a supernova gave us this light. It is uncertain how long this supermassive black hole has been dancing around with the ESO star. However, researchers feel this will give them a great chance to study black holes.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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How to Beat a Hangover, According to Science (Vogue)

While we can talk about animals, our planet, and the universe at large, one thing is important to us all: hangover cures. Science headlines like this will surely be clicked on faster than anything else. Of course, scientists do not tend to back a lot of hangover cures. A lot of them are based around a specific person and what works best for them, not the world at large. Yet there are a few key things we all can do to beat the problem caused by our bad decision-making the night prior.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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We know that an increase of cytokines IL-2 comes from overdrinking. This is what actually gives us headaches, fatigue, and even memory loss. On top of this are compounds called “congeners,” which are added to several alcoholic drinks to make them taste and smell better. Recommended cures are leafy greens, increase in vitamins, immediately getting up and moving to start blood flow, and increasing antioxidants. Yet one common trick still holds true, hydrate hydrate hydrate – with water!

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists Find Antibody That Blocks Dengue Virus (Science Daily)

There are a ton of major diseases that we simply fail to understand or cannot stop. That is why science headlines like this make us very happy, as we now know the antibody that can block the infamous Dengue Virus. A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkley and the University of Michigan made this discovery together. Of course, the Dengue Virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen. It infects roughly 50 to 100 million people every single year.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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The virus causes what we all know as “dengue fever.” The symptoms of this can be horrible. Not only do you get a fever but you’ll also upchuck and have muscle aches. Yet this is the least of your worries. This can become much worse, resulting in an untimely demise. The virus uses a specific protein called the Non-Structural Protein 1 or NS1. It’ll latch onto protective cells around organs, weakening protective barriers. The research team’s antibody, which they call 2B7, physically blocks the NS1 protein. That prevents cell latching and slows the spread of the virus! 2B7 works against 4 strains of the virus too!

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Third Time’s The Charm? Brazil Scales Back Efficacy Claims For COVID-19 Vaccine From China (Science Magazine)

Sometimes, science headlines can become a bit political even when that was not the exact design. As most know by now, COVID-19 was said to have begun out of China likely due to a person eating a bat with the disease. Or the bat infecting another animal that was consumed. Wanting to help, China has been developing COVID vaccines. Brazil has been doing trials with a Chinese-made vaccine for the virus, but their announcements on it seem to be conflicting.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Researchers reported that the results of their efficacy trial were not as impressive as they claimed beforehand. They analyzed using stricter criteria than they did previously. This included the vaccine’s ability to work well against ALL cases of COVID-19, including even mild cases. When doing this, their score dropped from 78% to 50% effectiveness. It was assumed that it could offer nearly 100% protection against a disease severe enough to require hospitalization, but that is uncertain now.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Earth Is Whipping Around Quicker Than It Has In A Half-Century (Live Science)

Did 2020 feel like one heck of an odd year for you? It did for most of the world. Yet it might not be completely Pandemic-related. Scientists measure the length of days worldwide each day of the year. The 28 fastest days ever record since measurements took place in 1960 all occurred in the year 2020! The Earth completed its revolutions around its axis milliseconds faster than average too!

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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This is not exactly worthy of alarm, as rotation will vary from time to time. It can be caused by several things such as winds, ocean currents, and even the movement of the core. Timekeepers on the international level are not major fans of these changes for obvious reasons. To keep things up to date on time, there have been discussions of adding a “leap second” to the year at the end of June or December. This would bring the astronomical and atomic time back in line.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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The Science Of Removing Memory (Fox 29 – Philadelphia)

Have you ever thought about removing some of the memories you have? Perhaps, you’ve considered removing them from others. Science headlines like this might freak people out, but it might not be as bad as some assume. You might be surprised, but removing memories can be done. Cognitive Neuroscientist, Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock and his team put people in a brain scanner to find out what they were thinking about and how they were thinking about it.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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They were then asked to stop thinking about a specific thought and were given ways to do it. The main three ways used were replacement, suppression, and clearing your mind. Replacing can be effective as you’re now able to switch thoughts. Suppression is harder because you actively are trying NOT to think of something or ignore it. While clearing the mind means you think of nothing, which can be hard for some, yet easy for others. It was found that if people concentrate enough and practice enough, they can remove specific memories or thoughts from their minds.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Every 8 Years, Swarms of Millipedes Stop Trains in Japan. Scientists Finally Know Why (Science Alert)

Science headlines like this might freak you out a bit but thankfully, scientists have found an answer to major questions they had. The story goes that every eight years during the fall, a massive amount of millipedes swarm train-lines in the mountains of Japan. Scientists just did not know why this happened. Yet after spending 50 years researching the odd issue, we now have an answer to the question.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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They found that these specific millipedes live on a rare eight-year lifecycle. Meaning all of the millipedes that come to these train tracks are different. It’s almost like they are taking a religious pilgrimage to where their parents met. Before this, cicadas were the only known periodical animals with this type of lifespan. The team wrote in their groundbreaking paper that the millipede needs seven years from egg to adult, with one more year for maturation. They tested the egg to adult theory in two different locations known for millipedes. Both coming back with exact matches.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Columbia Engineers First To Observe Avalanches In Nanoparticles (Eurekalert)

We love seeing science headlines that discuss revolutionary changes or inventions. That is exactly the case here as Columbia Engineering reported that they have developed the first nanomaterial that demonstrates “photon avalanching.” It is claimed that his process is unrivaled in its combination of extreme nonlinear optical behavior and efficiency. This is a huge development, as it could allow for things like real-time super-resolution optical microscopy.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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It could also lead to precise temperature and environmental sensing, infrared light detection, optical analog-to-digital conversation, and even something as unique as quantum sensing! The team studied these nanoparticles at the single-nanoparticle level, which seems to be what truly allowed them to prove the interesting avalanching behavior. This is an incredible discovery. Just think, with this, we could sense changes in our chemical surroundings and eliminate threats before they become one. That could result in potentially ending major viral diseases.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Edible Insects: The Science Of Novel Food Evaluations (European Food & Safety Authority)

While science headlines like this might gross you out, it’s actually confirmed that we eat bugs without realizing it all the time. In fact, if you’ve eaten any chocolate food, you’ve likely eaten some type of bug. Same for if you have eaten anything that comes from the ground, like plants. Just when you thought fruits and vegetables were the “safe” foods, right? Of course, several food and safety administrations tend to dive into this topic and update things annually.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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The European Food and Safety Authority did just that recently. They decided to tell us the science that goes into how they decide which insects are edible. Either those that fall into what we consume or those we eat on purpose. The hardest part for the team comes down to food allergies. It is not easy to know what insects might cause allergic reactions when consumed nor the number of those who have specific insect allergies.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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COVID-19 Measures Also Suppress Flu—For Now (Science Magazine)

A lot of people might be trying to use the claim that “COVID is a hoax.” They might even be referencing how no one is talking about the flu or influenza much at all right now. Yet there is a lot of things wrong with that. First, many people are wearing masks when they go into public spaces. These same COVID precautions help prevent the flu as well since both tend to spread the exact same ways. Of course, it should be noted that the flu tends to spike in the late winter months.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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This is why experts are not ready to state that this was a mild flu season at all just yet. The World Health Organization says the flu activity in the Northern Hemisphere is at “interseasonal levels.” This means it’s actually just as low as it would be during summer periods. In the United States, flu cases are currently at 1.6% which is well below the average 2.6% that is used to define it as a season epidemic. From September 2020 to early January 2021, 925 positive samples have been collected. That is far lower than the 63,975 collected during the same periods from 2019 to 2020.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Scientists Detect Ancient Cosmic “Background Noise” Hidden In Old Arecibo Observatory Data (Inverse)

When we were looking for great science headlines to discuss, we could not avoid this one. Astronomers spent 13 years observing signals from rotating stars in the hopes of catching ripples in spacetime. This is often referred to as gravitational waves, and they finally found possible hints of the first low-frequency version of these waves ever detected! It was discovered by a team of researchers from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves or NANOGrav.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
[Image via Aurore Simonnet/Sonoma State/Caltech/MIT/LIGO]
They did not just manage to tell us about it. Rather, they proved their finding with cosmic background noise. Back in September of 2015, scientists first detected a signal from gravitational waves. The signal came from a ripple between two black holes that collided 1.3 billion years ago. That only made NANOGrav more devoted to their project. Unlike high-frequency waves, the low-frequency versions come with persistent background noise, which they recorded.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Mice May ‘Catch’ Each Other’s Pain — And Pain Relief (Science News)

While science headlines about mice might not seem that appealing, this is actually a very compelling report. Mice seem to actually understand and feel each other’s pain. Research has been able to prove that when some mice are injured, other healthy mice living alongside them might mirror the injured mouse and behave as if they too have pain. Yet recently, research has been able to prove that mice can also mirror pain relief too.

Science Headlines Most People Probably Missed
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Stanford University Neuroscientist, Monique Smith, and her team have spent years trying to prove that animals can pick up and share each other’s emotions. In testing mice, they found that one mouse that was given morphine-induced pain relief was able to cause other mice to also have reduced pain. During one study, both mice were given an irritating injection but only one was given morphine. After mingling, both mice acted as if they both were given morphine. Which is absolutely incredible!

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