Seismologists from the University of Cambridge obtained the first detailed images of an unusual pocket of rock at the boundary layer with Earth's core some three thousand kilometers under the Hawaiian Islands, one of several ultra-low velocity zones where earthquake waves slow to a crawl as they pass through them. Sounds like the perfect material for building a wall around San Francisco.
If you need another reason to dislike Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, new paper in the journal Physics of Fluids details how the exhaust fumes from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets and Blue Origin’s New Shepard are actually toxic to human because they emit large amounts of harmful carbon gases and nitrogen oxides. If only one of them had the spare cash to clean up after themselves.
A rare funeral pyre was found at the archaeological site of Salorno-Dos de la Forca, in the Adige Valley of Northern Italy, dating to the late Bronze Age (1150-950BCE), which contains over 64kg (141 pounds) of cremated human remains, human and animal bone fragments, pottery shards, and other goods indicating at least 48 individuals from multiple generations were cremated there and their cremains left at the site. You know you’re of a certain age if you’re humming a song by The Doors.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) recorded thousands of vocalizations from wild chimpanzees in Taï, Ivory Coast, and found that the animals produced hundreds of different vocal sequences containing up to ten different call types which follow rules and are associated with each other in a structured manner – a sign that they may be an early form of human syntax. We’ll worry when the calls indicate the chimps have seen ‘Planet of the Apes’.
At Antarctica's Atka Bay, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are able to monitor a colony of about 20,000 emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) with the help of a hybrid rover named "ECHO" which has sensors to monitor the penguin colony's numbers and track individuals' movement and behavior without stressing the birds the way a human presence does. Get ready for ECHO to take over the same job from human supervisors in factories.
Dogs sniff fire hydrants, but new research found that bottlenose dolphins actually taste the urine of other dolphins to pick up signals to help recognize their friends and avoid those the aren’t familiar with. For those who don’t like the practice, dolphin facial recognition software can’t come fast enough.
Researchers near Bodim, Cornwall, found a previously unknown ancient stone circle during the first modern archaeological survey Castilly Henge, thought to have been built in the late Neolithic era (3,000 BCE to 2,500 BCE) – the long-buried stone circle is at the henge's center, making it the second henge in all of Cornwall to have a stone circle in it. Is a Cornish henge a tiny version of a regular henge?
Researchers using the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN Red List) identified 562 lost species which are ‘possibly extinct’ – with most of them being in megadiverse tropical countries where their habitat is being eliminated by development or destroyed by pollution. Animals would like to see that list include developers and polluters.
The artificial intelligence firm Zone7 has created an algorithm that can predict sports injuries so successfully that it’s being used by a number of teams in the NBA, NFL, MLS and Premier League as a way to detect injury risk and recommend pre-emptive action – it evaluates various factors relating to player performance, such as strength, sleep, flexibility and stress signals, then combines this data with numerical information on minutes played to create 'risk signals'. In American football, the best predictor of injuries is putting on a helmet and going on the field.
Hyundai announced the opening of its new Research, Development and Lab Center in Bozeman, Montana, to make Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs) – walking cars with robotic legs that can climb to where cars can’t, a feature important to first responders in natural disaster situations. Most likely, the first ones will go to rich people who never mastered the skill of parallel parking.