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Welcome to a “Breaking Science” update from Hawaii Science Digest.  Views expressed in this science and technology news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by “Sci-News.com”. Accessed on 31 May 2019, 2145 UTC.

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Astronomy

Astronomers Discover 1,824 New Supernova Candidates

Supernovae discovered by Yasuda et al: there are three images for each supernova -- for before it exploded (left), after it exploded (middle), and the supernova itself. Image credit: Yasuda et al, doi: 10.1093/pasj/psz050.Astronomers using the 8-m Subaru Telescope have identified 1,824 new supernova candidates, including 58 Type Ia supernovae over 8 billion light-years away. Supernovae discovered by Yasuda et al: there are three images for each supernova — for before it exploded (left), after it exploded (middle), and the supernova itself. Image credit: Yasuda et al, doi: 10.1093/pasj/psz050. “The 870 mega-pixel…

Space Exploration

Insulating Shell of Gas Hydrates May Prevent Pluto’s Subsurface Ocean from Freezing

This Pluto mosaic was made from New Horizons LORRI images taken on July 14, 2015, from a distance of 49,700 miles (80,000 km). This view is projected from a point 1,118 miles (1,800 km) above Pluto’s equator, looking northeast over the dark, cratered Cthulhu Regio toward the bright, smooth expanse of icy plains called Sputnik Planum. Pluto’s North Pole is off the image to the left. This mosaic was produced with panchromatic images from the New Horizons LORRI camera, with color overlaid from the Ralph color mapper onboard New Horizons. Image credit: S.A. Stern et al.Many icy bodies in our Solar System have underground oceans. On the dwarf planet Pluto, an area called Sputnik Planitia suggests the presence of a subsurface ocean and a locally thinned ice shell. To maintain an ocean, the dwarf planet needs to retain heat inside. On the other hand, to maintain large variations in its thickness, Pluto’s ice shell needs to be cold. Using computer simulations, a…

Archaeology

Inhabitants of Neolithic Çatalhöyük Suffered from Intestinal Parasites

This is an artist's impression of Çatalhöyük. Image credit: Dan Lewandowski.An international team of archaeologists has found 8,000-year-old eggs of the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) in coprolites (fossilized feces) from Çatalhöyük, a prehistoric settlement inhabited from about 7100 to 5600 BCE — the earliest archaeological evidence for intestinal parasite infection in the mainland Near East. This is an artist’s impression of Çatalhöyük. Image credit:…

Paleontology

Two T. rex Little Cousins Discovered

Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi (left) and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis. Image credit: Adun Samathi / Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn.Two new species of predatory megaraptoran dinosaurs have been identified from fossils found in Thailand. Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi (left) and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis. Image credit: Adun Samathi / Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn. The two new species, named Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis, roamed the Earth approximately 125 million years ago (Cretaceous…

Biology

New Species of Rat Snake Discovered

The Urartian rat snake (Elaphe urartica) in Armenia. Image credit: Boris Tuniyev.An international team of scientists has described a cryptic new species of rat snake in the genus Elaphe. The Urartian rat snake (Elaphe urartica) in Armenia. Image credit: Boris Tuniyev. Elaphe is a snake genus with distribution in temperate, subtropical, and tropical zones of both eastern and western hemisphere. The genus is comprised of about 15 species, with most occurring exclusively in Asia. The…

Physics

Researchers Generate Electricity from Americium

A small disk of americium-241 under the microscope. Image credit: Bionerd / CC BY 3.0.Researchers in the United Kingdom have extracted americium from a plutonium stockpile and used the heat generated from this radioactive element to generate enough electric current to light up a small lightbulb. The breakthrough means potential use of americium in radioisotope power systems for missions which would use the heat from americium pellets to power spacecraft heading into deep space or…

Medicine

Elevated Levels of ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Linked to Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Lipoprotein structure (chylomicron): ApoA, ApoB, ApoC and ApoE - apolipoproteins; T - triacylglycerol, CEo - cholesterol ester, green - phospholipids. Image credit: Xvaz Quez / CC BY-SA 3.0.A study published in the journal JAMA Neurology suggests that levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, sometimes referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, play a causal role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Lipoprotein structure (chylomicron): ApoA, ApoB, ApoC and ApoE – apolipoproteins; T – triacylglycerol, CEo – cholesterol ester, green – phospholipids….

Genetics

Ancient DNA Study Tells Story of East Africa’s First Herders and Farmers

Prehistoric rock paintings in Manda Guéli Cave in the Ennedi Mountains, Chad, Central Africa. Image credit: David Stanley / CC BY 2.0.How food production entered sub-Saharan Africa some 5,000 years ago and the ways in which herding and farming spread through the continent in ancient times has long been a topic of archaeological debate. Now a study led by Stony Brook University, Saint Louis University and Harvard Medical School scientists is providing some answers to these questions. Prehistoric rock paintings in Manda Guéli Cave…

Geology

Study: Salts Trapped inside Fibrous Diamonds Came from Ancient Seabeds

Backscattered electron images of experimental charges. Locations of images (A) to (D) from sediment-peridotite reaction experiments are schematically shown in capsule on the left. (A, C, and D) - reaction experiments at 5 GPa/1000 degrees Celsius with superimposed energy-dispersive x-ray maps of chlorine [green in (C) and (D)]. The sediment half of two-layer experiments recrystallized to garnet and clinopyroxene (Cpx), whereas orthopyroxene (Opx), magnesite (Mgs), and Na-K chlorides formed at the leading edge of the reaction zone against the peridotite. (B) - peridotite layer in the reaction experiment at 3 GPa/900 degrees Celsius contained phlogopite (Phl) behind the magnesite plus orthopyroxene zone, and Na-K chlorides were absent. (E and F) - sediment melting experiment (no peridotite included) at 4 GPa/1000 degrees Celsius showing silicate melt (E) in equilibrium with garnet (Gt), coesite (Coe), and Mg calcite (Mg-Cc) shown in (F). Scale bars - 100 μm (A and B) and 20 μm (C to F). Image credit: Förster et al, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aau2620.So-called fibrous diamonds, which are cloudy and less appealing to jewelers — and less often, gem-quality diamonds — trap and preserve fluids that are present during their formation. In a series of high-pressure, high-temperature experiments, an international team of geoscientists has demonstrated that seawater in sediments from the bottom of the ocean reacts in the right way to produce…

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