Environment Watchdogs Harness AI to Track Overflowing Factory Farm Waste

sciam.com – Floods dump tons of pathogen-laden manure into U.S. waterways, often from hard-to-identify farms

Source: Cassandra Handan-Nader, Daniel E. Ho. Deep learning to map concentrated animal feeding operations. Nature Sustainability, 2019.

New Tech Converts Thoughts to Speech, Could Give Voice to the Voiceless

discovermagazine.com – By watching which brain regions control the vocal tract, researchers say they can reproduce speech

Source: Susan Koch Fager, Melanie Fried-Oken, Tom Jakobs, David R. Beukelman. New and emerging access technologies for adults with complex communication needs and severe motor impairments: State of the science. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 2019.

Mercury Mystery Uncovered: Planet Has Solid Inner Core

medicaldaily.com – According to newly emerged studies, Mercury, the smallest planet in our own solar system, has a core that is not only massive but solid, solving a mystery that has long baffled the scientific community.

Source: Antonio Genova, et al. Geodetic Evidence That Mercury Has A Solid Inner Core. Geophysical Research Letters, 2019.

Greenland's Ice Sheet Was Growing. Now It's in a Terrifying Decline

livescience.com – Greenland's ice sheet has undergone a stunning reversal in the last 46 years, as a meticulous new study documents.

Source: Jérémie Mouginot, et al. Forty-six years of Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance from 1972 to 2018. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

Earthquakes Today: Shocking Southern California Discovery Could Help Predict Dangerous Tremors

medicaldaily.com – A study shows the tremors are 10 times more often than seismologists thought across Southern California.

Source: Zachary E. Ross, Daniel T. Trugman, Egill Hauksson, Peter M. Shearer. Searching for hidden earthquakes in Southern California. Science, 2019.

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

digitaltrends.com – A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. It would be expected that helium hydride would still be present in some parts of the universe. But strangely enough, it has never been detected in space before now.

Source: Rolf Güsten, et al. Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH+. Nature, 2019.

Synthetic speech generated from brain recordings

sciencedaily.com – A state-of-the-art brain-machine interface created by neuroscientists can generate natural-sounding synthetic speech by using brain activity to control a virtual vocal tract -- an anatomically detailed computer simulation including the lips, jaw, tongue, and larynx. The study was conducted in research participants with intact speech, but the technology could one day restore the voices of people who have lost the ability to speak due to paralysis or neurological damage.

Source: Gopala K. Anumanchipalli, Josh Chartier, Edward F. Chang. Speech synthesis from neural decoding of spoken sentences. Nature, 2019.

There’s just no getting away from microplastic contamination

arstechnica.com – And we still don’t know where a huge portion of our plastic waste even ends up.

Source: Steve Allen, et al. Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment. Nature Geoscience, 2019.

Scientists Observe Gravitational Instability in Which ‘Bubbles’ of Lighter Sand Form and Rise through Heavier Sand

sci-news.com – Gravitational (Rayleigh-Taylor, or R-T) instabilities are produced by the interactions of two fluids of different densities that do not mix -- oil and water, for example -- because the lighter fluid pushes aside the heavier one. Now, a team of researchers from Columbia University and ETH Zurich has observed an unexpected R-T-like instability in which lighter grains rise through heavier grains in the form of ‘fingers’ and ‘granular bubbles.’

Source: Christopher P. McLaren, Thomas M. Kovar, Alexander Penn, Christoph R. Müller, Christopher M. Boyce. Gravitational instabilities in binary granular materials. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

Researchers Resuscitate Pig Brains Hours After Death

discovermagazine.com – The brain was never alert and researchers did not restore consciousness, but the work could lead to new recovery treatments after heart attacks and strokes.

Source: Stuart Youngner, Insoo Hyun. Pig experiment challenges assumptions around brain damage in people. Nature, 2019.

LADEE Detects Water Molecules from Meteoroid Strikes on Moon

sci-news.com – Using data from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), a team of researchers has discovered that water is being released from the Moon during meteor showers.

Source: M. Benna, D. M. Hurley, T. J. Stubbs, P. R. Mahaffy, R. C. Elphic. Lunar soil hydration constrained by exospheric water liberated by meteoroid impacts. Nature Geoscience, 2019.