New 3D Map of Milky Way Reveals True Shape of Its Stellar Disk

sci-news.com – An international team of astronomers has used 1,339 classical Cepheid stars -- pulsating variable stars each up to 100,000 brighter than our Sun -- to map the real shape of our Milky Way Galaxy. The team has found the Milky Way’s stellar disk becomes increasingly warped and twisted the further away the stars are from the Galaxy’s center.

Source: Xiaodian Chen, et al. An intuitive 3D map of the Galactic warp’s precession traced by classical Cepheids. Nature Astronomy, 2019.

How to Make a Mouse Hallucinate

sciam.com – A real-time capture of brain-circuit activity shows how simple it is to change what an animal sees

Source: James H. Marshel, et al. Cortical layer–specific critical dynamics triggering perception. Science, 2019.

Giant system of snow cannons could stabilize West Antarctic ice sheet

upi.com – Scientists in Germany and the United States are considering a bold plan to pump millions of gallons of seawater into to a system of snow cannons installed across West Antarctica in order to save its ice sheet.

Source: Johannes Feldmann, Anders Levermann, Matthias Mengel. Stabilizing the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by surface mass deposition. Science Advances, 2019.

Aerogels Could Be Used to Build Terraforming Domes on Mars

discovermagazine.com – Domes made of a high-tech substance called silica aerogel could protect crops on Mars and make the Red Planet more habitable.

Source: R. Wordsworth, L. Kerber, C. Cockell. Enabling Martian habitability with silica aerogel via the solid-state greenhouse effect. Nature Astronomy, 2019.

Facebook and Google Trackers Are Showing Up on Porn Sites

nytimes.com – A new study scanned 22,484 pornography sites and found them riddled with trackers from major technology companies.

Source: Elena Maris, Timothy Libert, Jennifer Henrichsen. Tracking sex: The implications of widespread sexual data leakage and tracking on porn websites. arXiv, 2019.

Army game-theory research better allocates military resources, fight cancer

eurekalert.org – US Army game-theory research using artificial intelligence may help treat cancer and other diseases, improve cybersecurity, deploy Soldiers and assets more efficiently and even win a poker game.

Source: Noam Brown, Tuomas Sandholm. Superhuman AI for multiplayer poker. Science, 2019.

Contaminated Land

scienceblog.com – Ancient submerged volcanoes Rise up from the ocean floor, Their tips littering the landscape As tremendous shadows of the past Cast a barely visible film of filth Across this false Pacific paradise…

Source: Maveric K. I. L. Abella, Monica Rouco Molina, Ivana Nikolić-Hughes, Emlyn W. Hughes, Malvin A. Ruderman. Background gamma radiation and soil activity measurements in the northern Marshall Islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

Genetic Study Points to Metabolic Roots of Anorexia Nervosa

the-scientist.com – Some variants implicated in the disease are also linked to other psychiatric disorders.

Source: Christopher Hübel, et al. Genomics of body fat percentage may contribute to sex bias in anorexia nervosa. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 2018.

Image of the Day: Digital Adaptation

the-scientist.com – A bird leg with one super-long toe is something paleontologists say they’ve never seen before.

Source: Lida Xing, et al. A New Enantiornithine Bird with Unusual Pedal Proportions Found in Amber. Current Biology, 2019.

210,000-year-old skull in Greece is earliest sign of modern humans in Europe or Asia

latimes.com – A 210,000-year-old skull in Greece is the earliest evidence for modern humans in Eurasia and suggests they left Africa earlier than previously thought.

Source: Katerina Harvati, et al. Apidima Cave fossils provide earliest evidence of Homo sapiens in Eurasia. Nature, 2019.

"Metronome" Neurons Act Like Timekeepers in Mouse Brains

sciam.com – Brain cells that tick at regular intervals may coordinate neural activity like the conductor of an orchestra

Source: Hyeyoung Shin, Christopher I. Moore. Persistent Gamma Spiking in SI Nonsensory Fast Spiking Cells Predicts Perceptual Success. Neuron, 2019.