Warmed-up lithium-based batteries could make electric vehicles cheaper

newscientist.com – Lithium batteries that operate at a higher temperature could be cheaper and safer than other batteries for electric cars

Source: Xiao-Guang Yang, Teng Liu, Chao-Yang Wang. Thermally modulated lithium iron phosphate batteries for mass-market electric vehicles. Nature Energy, 2021.

Why Cuttlefish Are Smarter Than We Thought

npr.org – Cuttlefish, the squishy sea creatures, showed impressive self-control in an experiment. It means they have something in common with primates.

Source: Alexandra K. Schnell, Markus Boeckle, Micaela Rivera, Nicola S. Clayton, Roger T. Hanlon. Cuttlefish exert self-control in a delay of gratification task. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021.

Microdosing's Feel-Good Benefits Might Just Be Placebo Effect

wired.com – A study found no significant difference in the well-being of participants who thought they were taking mini hits of psychedelics and those who actually were.

Source: Balázs Szigeti, et al. Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing. eLife, 2021.

¿Estás harto de las mascarillas y ya te vacunaste? Aún debes usarlas para proteger a los demás

nytimes.com – Aún no se sabe con qué facilidad las personas vacunadas pueden propagar el virus, pero la respuesta a esa pregunta llegará pronto. Hasta entonces, los científicos instan a la precaución.

Source: Noa Dagan, et al. BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.

“Locked” for 300 years: Virtual unfolding has now revealed this letter’s secrets

arstechnica.com – Practice of intricately folding letters to secure them is known as "letterlocking."

Source: Jana Dambrogio, et al. Unlocking history through automated virtual unfolding of sealed documents imaged by X-ray microtomography. Nature Communications, 2021.

Fossil scan of Little Foot sheds light on human origins

cbc.ca – Sophisticated scanning technology is revealing intriguing secrets about Little Foot, the remarkable fossil of an early human forerunner that inhabited South Africa 3.67 million years ago during a critical juncture in our evolutionary history.

Source: Amélie Beaudet, et al. Preliminary paleohistological observations of the StW 573 (‘Little Foot’) skull. eLife, 2021.

Time to say goodbye? Calls rarely end when we want them to, study finds

theguardian.com – Whether talking to family, friends or strangers, calls hardly ever end when both parties are ready

Source: Adam M. Mastroianni, Daniel T. Gilbert, Gus Cooney, Timothy D. Wilson. Do conversations end when people want them to?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

In Oregon, Scientists Find a Virus Variant With a Worrying Mutation

nytimes.com – In a single sample, geneticists discovered a version of the coronavirus first identified in Britain with a mutation originally reported in South Africa.

Source: Nicholas G. Davies, et al. Estimated transmissibility and impact of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England. Science, 2021.

Medium-size dinos are missing from the fossil record. Here's why.

livescience.com – It's hard to compete against teenage tyrannosaurs.

Source: Katlin Schroeder, S. Kathleen Lyons, Felisa A. Smith. The influence of juvenile dinosaurs on community structure and diversity. Science, 2021.

The Power of Playing Dead

nytimes.com – A study shows that pretending to be immobile — sometimes for an hour or more — helps larvae of an insects called antlions outlast hungry predators.

Source: Ana B. Sendova-Franks, Alan Worley, Nigel R. Franks. Post-contact immobility and half-lives that save lives. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2020.