Did Vesuvius Victims' Brains Really Boil and Their Skulls Explode?

livescience.com – Some victims of Vesuvius may have suffered boiling brains and exploding skulls, a new paper posits.

Source: Pierpaolo Petrone, et al. A hypothesis of sudden body fluid vaporization in the 79 AD victims of Vesuvius. PLOS ONE, 2018.

Climate change could disrupt global beer supply

upi.com – Beer prices could double as a result of global warming, according to a new study.

Source: Wei Xie, et al. Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat. Nature Plants, 2018.

Evolution can't keep up with the human-caused extinction crisis

upi.com – According to a new study, the rate of extinction among mammals is accelerating, limiting nature's natural defense against ecological damage, evolution.

Source: Matt Davis, Søren Faurby, Jens-Christian Svenning. Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Most White Americans’ DNA Can Be Identified Through Genealogy Databases

nytimes.com – A study found that it will soon be possible to identify the DNA of 90 percent of European Americans through cousins in genealogy databases.

Source: Yaniv Erlich, Tal Shor, Itsik Pe’er, Shai Carmi. Identity inference of genomic data using long-range familial searches. Science, 2018.

Human retinas grown in a dish explain how color vision develops

sciencedaily.com – Biologists grew human retina tissue from scratch to determine how cells that allow people to see in color are made.

Source: Kiara C. Eldred, et al. Thyroid hormone signaling specifies cone subtypes in human retinal organoids. Science, 2018.

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

digitaltrends.com – Healthy mice have been born from two mothers, and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The research could pave the way for advanced breeding methods in other mammals.

Source: Zhi-Kun Li, et al. Generation of Bimaternal and Bipaternal Mice from Hypomethylated Haploid ESCs with Imprinting Region Deletions. Cell Stem Cell, 2018.

Researchers Discover Oldest-Ever Evidence of Animals on Earth

vice.com – Demosponges, the first multicellular animals on earth, emerged 635 to 660 million years ago after a “Snowball Earth” period when the earth was almost completely frozen.

Source: J. Alex Zumberge, et al. Demosponge steroid biomarker 26-methylstigmastane provides evidence for Neoproterozoic animals. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018.

Stephen Hawking's last paper on black holes is now online

engadget.com – 'Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair' presents a solution for the black hole information paradox.

Source: Sasha Haco, Stephen W. Hawking, Malcolm J. Perry, Andrew Strominger. Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair. arXiv, 2018.

Youth violence lower in countries with complete ban on corporal punishment

sciencedaily.com – A study shows that in countries where there is a complete ban on all corporal punishment of children there is less fighting among young people. There was 31 percent less physical fighting in young men and 42 percent less physical fighting in young women in countries where corporal punishment was banned in all settings, compared with those where corporal punishment was permitted both at school and at home. In countries where there was a partial ban on corporal punishment (such as in Canada,...

Source: Frank J Elgar, et al. Corporal punishment bans and physical fighting in adolescents: an ecological study of 88 countries. BMJ Open, 2018.

Viruses Spread by Insects to Crops Sound Scary. The Military Calls It Food Security.

nytimes.com – Critics warn that a Defense Department-funded food security project that is still in the lab could set off a “biological arms race.”

Source: R. G. Reeves, S. Voeneky, D. Caetano-Anollés, F. Beck, C. Boëte. Agricultural research, or a new bioweapon system?. Science, 2018.

A roadmap to agriculture that’s sustainable and climate-neutral

arstechnica.com – Keeping agriculture from doing long-term damage ultimately involves eating less.

Source: Marco Springmann, et al. Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Nature, 2018.