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Astronomers discover strangely massive black hole in Milky Way satellite galaxy

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Astronomers have discovered an unusually massive black hole at the heart of one of the Milky Way's dwarf satellite galaxies, called Leo I. Almost as massive as the black hole in our own galaxy, the finding could redefine our understanding of how all galaxies -- the building blocks of the universe -- evolve.

Arecibo data still has astronomers in a spin

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Data collected by the Arecibo Radio Telescope before it collapsed late last year will help astronomers better understand how our local neighbourhood of galaxies formed. Arecibo was the world's largest single-dish radio telescope until it was surpassed in 2016 by China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). At the end of 2020, Arecibo's 900-ton receiver platform suddenly and spectacularly fell onto the dish below, destroying the telescope.

Unorthodox 'exercise in a pill' could offer simple solution for at-risk patients

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Unique molecular signals in the body sent to our brain and potentially our eyes immediately after we exercise could be key to helping scientists 'bottle up' the benefits of exercise in a pill for at-risk patients.

The secret life of Tasmanian devils is hiding in their whiskers

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Researchers have mapped the timescale of the Tasmanian devils' whiskers, showing that their whiskers can capture seasonal dietary changes over at least nine months and potentially up to a year.

Parental stress is a contributing factor linking maternal depression to child anxiety and depressive symptoms

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
A secondary analysis of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (Fragile Families) found a bi-directional relationship where a mother's mental health symptoms impacted the child's mental health symptoms and vice versa, according to researchers.

Thriving in non-equilibrium

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Researchers used the Frontera supercomputer to explore light-induced superconductivity a pulsed laser, which is believed to be a promising route to room-temperature superconductors. They found that d-wave superconductivity can be enhanced by a pulsed laser, but the light-enhanced superconductivity may be of fluctuating nature. The project applied a recently developed exact diagonalization method which allows precise calculations of up to a trillion matrix elements, but requires large scale high performance computing.

Footprints from site a at Laetoli, Tanzania, are from early humans, not bears

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
The oldest unequivocal evidence of upright walking in the human lineage are footprints discovered at Laetoli, Tanzania in 1978, by paleontologist Mary Leakey and her team. The bipedal trackways date to 3.7 million years ago. Another set of mysterious footprints was partially excavated at nearby Site A in 1976 but dismissed as possibly being made by a bear. A recent re-excavation of the Site A footprints at Laetoli and a detailed comparative analysis reveal that the footprints were made by an early human -- a bipedal hominin.

When variations in Earth's orbit drive biological evolution

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Coccolithophores are microscopic algae that form tiny limestone plates, called coccoliths, around their single cells. They are responsible for half of the limestone produced in the oceans and therefore play a major role in the carbon cycle and in determining ocean chemistry. A team of scientists show that certain variations in Earth's orbit have influenced the evolution of coccolithophores.

Deep learning dreams up new protein structures

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Using artificial intelligence and deep learning, researchers have developed a neural network that 'hallucinates' the structures of new protein molecules. The scientists made up completely random protein sequences and introduced mutations into them until the neural network predicted they would fold into stable structures. The software was not guided toward a particular outcome; the proteins were just what the computer dreams up. Next step: using deep learning to try to design proteins with particular functions, such as enzymes or drugs.

Researchers unlock biogeographical secrets of deep-sea limpets

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Researchers have decoded for the first time the demographic history, genetic structure, and population connectivity of a deep-sea limpet widely distributed in vent and seep ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific. This study not only enhances our knowledge of the historical population divergence and contemporary gene flow of deep-sea organisms under the intricate interactions amongst local habitats, seafloor topography, and ocean currents, but also serves as a scientific basis for better conservation of marine biodiversity and more effective environmental management.

Machine learning helps mathematicians make new connections

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Mathematicians have partnered with artificial intelligence to suggest and prove new mathematical theorems.

The diabetes medication that could revolutionize heart failure treatment

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
A medication originally used for patients with diabetes is the first to help people with heart failure and could revolutionize treatment. Early research had shown that SGLT2 inhibitors could help around half of heart failure patients -- those with a condition known as reduction ejection fraction. But a new study shows that the medication could be beneficial for all heart failure patients -- including those with a second type of heart failure called preserved ejection fraction.

Study links high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease to plastics

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
In a mouse study, a team led by a biomedical scientist found a phthalate -- a chemical used to make plastics more durable -- led to increased plasma cholesterol levels.

Coffee time: Caffeine improves reaction to moving targets

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
In the first study of its kind to explore caffeine's effects on dynamic visual skills, researchers concluded that caffeine increases alertness and detection accuracy for moving targets. Caffeine also improved participants' reaction times.

New computational approach predicts chemical reactions at high temperatures

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
Engineers invent 'green' method that combines quantum mechanics with machine learning to accurately predict oxide reactions at high temperatures when no experimental data is available; could be used to design clean carbon-neutral processes for steel production and metal recycling.

Why cannabis smells skunky

Science Daily - 01/12/2021
As cannabis is legalized in more areas, it has become increasingly popular as a medicinal and recreational drug. This plant produces a pungent, skunk-like odor that is pleasing to some but repulsive to others. Now, researchers have discovered a new family of prenylated volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that give cannabis its characteristic skunky aroma. The findings open up opportunities to investigate the molecules for medicinal benefits, the researchers say.

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