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George Dvorsky's posts - English uPOST

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 23, 2020. 5 comments

Scientists Just Made a 3,000-Year-Old Mummy 'Speak'

Scientists Just Made a 3,000-Year-Old Mummy 'Speak'

Have you ever wondered what an ancient Egyptian mummy would sound like if it could talk? A wild new scientific experiment has finally answered this burning question, but the result is perhaps less impressive (and certainly less ominous) than you might think.

The sound of a vocal tract from a 3,000-year-old mummy has been recreated using CT scans, a 3D-printer, and a voice synthesizer. Details...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 23, 2020. 12 comments

Victims of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption Were Baked, Not Vaporized, According to New Research

Victims of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption Were Baked, Not Vaporized, According to New Research

A novel analysis of the skeletal remains of Vesuvius victims who sought shelter during the catastrophic eruption 2,000 years ago suggests they endured a slower death than is typically appreciated.

Like the nearby settlements of Pompeii, Stabiae, and Oplontis, the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum was devastated when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. The ash and pumice that settled onto the city...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 23, 2020. 6 comments

The Pentagon’s Plan to Pepper Space With Surveillance Satellites Is Taking Shape

The Pentagon’s Plan to Pepper Space With Surveillance Satellites Is Taking Shape

New details have emerged about the Pentagon’s ambitious plan to build seven different defense constellations, the first of which will include hundreds of surveillance satellites that are expected to attain full global coverage in just six years.

Known as the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), it’s the first major initiative from the newly hatched Space Development Agency (SDA), a part...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 22, 2020. 5 comments

'Walking Sharks' Confirmed as the Newest Addition to the Shark Family Tree

'Walking Sharks' Confirmed as the Newest Addition to the Shark Family Tree

Sharks have been around for a long time, emerging over 400 million years ago. New research shows that tropical ‘walking sharks’ appeared just 9 million years ago, making them the most recently evolved shark on the planet.

New research published in Marine and Freshwater Research describes nine species of walking shark, all of whom live in the waters off northern Australia, eastern Indonesia,...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 21, 2020. 23 comments

World’s Oldest Known Impact Crater Confirmed in Australia

World’s Oldest Known Impact Crater Confirmed in Australia

A 70-kilometer-wide (43-mile) impact structure in the Australian Outback has been dated to 2.2 billion years old, making it the oldest known asteroid crater on Earth. Fascinatingly, this asteroid likely plunged into a massive ice sheet, triggering a global-scale warming period.

New research published today in Nature Communications confirms the Yarrabubba crater in western Australia as the...

23 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 18, 2020. 10 comments

436-Million-Year-Old Scorpion Was Among the Planet's First Air Breathers

436-Million-Year-Old Scorpion Was Among the Planet's First Air Breathers

A newly described scorpion dating back to the early Silurian period is answering important questions about the first arachnids and the adaptations that enabled some of the earliest animals on Earth to migrate from aquatic to terrestrial habitats.

New research published in Scientific Reports describes Parioscorpio venator—now the oldest scorpion in the fossil record. Its name means “progenitor...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 17, 2020. 11 comments

Scientists Are Generating Oxygen from Simulated Moon Dust

Scientists Are Generating Oxygen from Simulated Moon Dust

European researchers are working on a system that can churn out breathable oxygen from simulated samples of moon dust.

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel,” explained Beth Lomax, a chemist from the University of Glasgow, in an European Space...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 17, 2020. 17 comments

New Research Casts Doubt on Theory That Volcanoes Caused Dinosaur Extinction

New Research Casts Doubt on Theory That Volcanoes Caused Dinosaur Extinction

Scientists have new evidence in their quest to settle the longstanding debate about whether it was a gigantic meteorite or massive volcanic eruptions that triggered the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.

A curious thing about the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction is that two apocalyptic-scale events happened at roughly the same time. Some 66 million years ago, a large...

17 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 17, 2020. 17 comments

Surprising Experiment Suggests Wolf Puppies Can Play Fetch

Surprising Experiment Suggests Wolf Puppies Can Play Fetch

Scientists in Sweden have shown that some wolf pups, like dogs, are capable of playing fetch with humans. It’s an unexpected result, one that suggests the ancestors of dogs were primed for domestication.

A new study published in iScience presents evidence showing that some wolf pups, with a bit of encouragement, will retrieve a tossed ball and return it to an unfamiliar human. In other words,...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 16, 2020. 17 comments

Newly Sequenced Giant Squid Genome Raises as Many Questions as It Answers

Newly Sequenced Giant Squid Genome Raises as Many Questions as It Answers

One the most intriguing and mysterious creatures on the planet—the giant squid—has finally had its genome fully sequenced. But while the genome is helping to explain many of its distinguishing features, including its large size and big brain, we still have much to learn about this near-mythical beast.

“A genome is a first step for answering a lot of questions about the biology of these very...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 16, 2020. 3 comments

Free-Diving Neanderthals Gathered Tools From the Seafloor

Free-Diving Neanderthals Gathered Tools From the Seafloor

New evidence suggests Neanderthals gathered clam shells and volcanic rock from the bottom of the Mediterranean, which they fashioned into tools. The work is yet more evidence that Neanderthals often ventured into the water, and it adds to the body of research showing that they were nothing like the unintelligent, uncoordinated clods they’ve long been portrayed to be.

Researchers have...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 15, 2020. 9 comments

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is a Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is a Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

A meteorite that crashed into Australia back in 1969 contains stardust dating back some 7 billion years, predating the formation of Earth by 2.5 billion years. The remarkable discovery offers a snapshot of the conditions that existed long before our solar system came into existence.

Ancient grains found inside the Murchison meteorite have been dated to between 5 billion and 7 billion years...

9 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 15, 2020. 12 comments

Made Entirely From Cells, These Adorable ‘Xenobots’ Are Practically Alive

Made Entirely From Cells, These Adorable ‘Xenobots’ Are Practically Alive

With the help of a supercomputer, scientists have built tiny machines comprised entirely made of biological materials. Able to survive for days and even weeks, these xenobots could eventually be used to deliver drugs inside the body and to clean up the environment.

New research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes the xenobot—a “reconfigurable organism”...

12 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 13, 2020. 12 comments

A New Machine Keeps Livers Alive Outside the Human Body for an Entire Week

A New Machine Keeps Livers Alive Outside the Human Body for an Entire Week

A new system is capable of maintaining a human liver outside the body for seven days, during which time the damaged organ can be repaired and prepared for transplantation.

At best, conventional technologies can sustain a liver outside the body for around 24 hours, but the new perfusion machine, developed by scientists from University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich, and the...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 11, 2020. 14 comments

Viking Runes Warned of a Climate Catastrophe, New Research Suggests

Viking Runes Warned of a Climate Catastrophe, New Research Suggests

An updated interpretation of the famous Rök runestone suggests Vikings were preoccupied by the threat of a climate calamity.

The Rök runestone was completed and upraised in what is now Östergötland, Sweden, around 800 CE, and it was long thought to describe a series of battles. Given that the poem inscribed on the rune was written as a series of riddles, this interpretation has remained just...

14 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 11, 2020. 14 comments

Dead Alligators Dropped to the Bottom of the Sea Make for a Rare and Delicious Meal

Dead Alligators Dropped to the Bottom of the Sea Make for a Rare and Delicious Meal

An experiment to see how deep-sea creatures might react to the presence of an uncommon food source—alligator carcasses—has resulted in some fascinating new science.

As many of you will recall, Gizmodo

covered some of this research in April of last year. The marine biologists responsible for the experiment have finally published their long-awaited results in the open-access science journal...

14 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 10, 2020. 10 comments

Astronomers Are Increasingly Worried About How Satellite Megaconstellations Will Disrupt Science

Astronomers Are Increasingly Worried About How Satellite Megaconstellations Will Disrupt Science

Organizers of an American Astronomical Society conference in Hawaii held a special session to discuss the ways in which satellite megaconstellations, such as the one currently being built by SpaceX, are poised to disrupt telescopic observations. The astronomers also proposed potential solutions to this emerging problem.

The special session, titled “Challenges to Astronomy from Satellites,” was...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 09, 2020. 18 comments

We Finally Know Why This 2,600-Year-Old Human Brain Is So Freakishly Well-Preserved

We Finally Know Why This 2,600-Year-Old Human Brain Is So Freakishly Well-Preserved

An Iron Age human skull found in 2008 contained an unprecedented amount of preserved brain material, a discovery that has confounded scientists for over a decade. New research finally explains why this brain resisted decay for thousands of years.

The skull containing the Heslington brain, as it’s called, was found in a soggy mud pit near the British village of Heslington. The skull dates back...

18 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 08, 2020. 7 comments

Wildfires Have Absolutely Ravaged Australia’s Cherished Kangaroo Island

Wildfires Have Absolutely Ravaged Australia’s Cherished Kangaroo Island

Approximately one-third of Australia’s Kangaroo Island has been torched by recent wildfires, as new satellite photos reveal. Given the island’s ecological importance, it’s a tragedy for the ages.

Known as Australia’s “Galapagos Island,” Kangaroo Island is located south of South Australia, around 112 kilometers (70 miles) southwest of Adelaide. It’s Australia’s third largest island after...

7 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 08, 2020. 5 comments

Latest Starlink Launch Makes SpaceX the Largest Commercial Satellite Operator in the World

Latest Starlink Launch Makes SpaceX the Largest Commercial Satellite Operator in the World

The successful launch of 60 new Starlink satellites means SpaceX now operates more commercial satellites than any other company in the world. It’s a major milestone for the Elon Musk-led company, which still needs to show it’s capable of responsibly managing its burgeoning megaconsellation.

Deployment of the 60 Starlink satellites was confirmed earlier today in a SpaceX tweet. The satellites...

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