Hi, I’m Scientific American podcast editor Steve Mirsky. And here’s a short piece from the February 2020 issue of the magazine, in the section called Advances: Dispatches From The Frontiers Of Science, Technology And Medicine.
The article is titled Quick Hits, and it’s a rundown of some science and technology stories from around the globe, compiled by assistant news editor Sarah Lewin Frasier.
From the U.S.
Off the California coast, scientists measured a blue whale’s heart rate for the first time, using a device attached to the animal’s skin by suction cup. The heart, likely weighing hundreds of pounds, beats from two to 37 times per minute, varying dramatically between diving, feeding and surfacing.
From Peru: Researchers analyzing satellite and imaging data have found 143 new Nazca lines—large line drawings of humans, animals and symbols etched into the Peruvian landscape millennia ago. They include a humanoid figure 16 feet across, spotted by IBM’s Watson AI system.
From Brazil: Despite the long dry spells in Brazil’s Caatinga region, scientists found the tree Hymenaea cangaceira drizzles copious nectar from flowers to attract pollinating bats; a full-size tree can release 240 gallons of the stuff, with 38 distinct scent compounds, over a single dry season.
From Norway: Archaeologists’ ground-piercing radar found a Viking-era ship, surrounded by a filled ditch, lurking below the soil of a western Norway farm. It was once within a burial mound.
From Jordan: Researchers uncovered a two-horned figure in early Islamic ruins that may be the earliest chess piece ever found. The roughly 1,300-year-old object matches a rook found in an Iranian chess set from about 400 years later.
From Ethiopia: Microbes thrive in many of Earth’s harshest environments, but researchers found no life at all in briny, scorching, acidic pools near Ethiopia’s Dallol volcano. Knowing boundaries for life’s adaptation helps to narrow the search for Earth-like life on other planets.
That was Quick Hits, by Sarah Lewin Frasier.
- Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) – Science Magazine
- England coronavirus testing has not risen fast enough – science chief – The Guardian
- Coronavirus Tests Science’s Need for Speed Limits – The New York Times
- Trump Falsely Distorts New York Times COVID-19 Science Story – FactCheck.org
- This is the brightest supernova ever seen – Science Magazine
- Coronavirus Today: Science will save us – Los Angeles Times
- Italians stuck at home are measuring light pollution for ‘science on the balcony’ – TechCrunch
- ‘Oumuamua might be a shard of a broken planet – Science News
- College of Arts and Science converts thriving academic programs to departments – Vanderbilt University News