Here are the best stories of the week.
In grand first, scientists detect two massive mergers of black holes with neutron stars
Black holes are the cosmic monsters of the universe because nothing can escape their attraction, not even light. Now, for the first time, astronomers have spotted black holes engulfing the corpse of massive neutron stars in two separate events. When these gigantic celestial entities collided, the two volatile events set off ripples across the universe, and some were felt by our planet as well. Full story here.
Dinosaurs were already in decline, possibly due to climate change, before the impact of the asteroids triggered their extinction!
About 66 million years ago, an asteroid crashed out of the sky and completely altered the state of Earth, with one of its biggest impacts being the Fifth Mass Extinction. It was believed that the dinosaurs were almost all wiped out in one go. But now, a new study has found that these creatures had already been in a state of gradual decline for around ten million years, before space rock stepped in to deliver their killing blow. Find out more here.
The Chinese “Dragon Man” fossil sheds new light on human origins; A new species of homo considered our ancestral closest relative
While most of the fossil remains that we find contain teeth and other parts of skeletal remains, the Harbin skull discovered in the 1930s in China’s Heilongjiang Province remains the largest known fossil skull of a human ancestor. After nearly nine decades, a new study has indicated that this almost perfectly preserved fossil skull may belong to our closest ancestral relative. Emerging evidence suggests that he represents a new human species called Homo longi or “Dragon Man”. More details here.
Scientists hand-select the genes that control aging using fruit flies
From penicillin to radioactivity, accidental discoveries have pushed humanity into unimaginable areas of modern health and comfort for centuries. Today, one of these accidental discoveries may have paved the way for the extension of human life expectancy. A new study has shown that only 30 percent of human genes, which are traditional features of aging, can actually be directly involved in the aging process. The findings mean scientists may need to rethink and rework the current understanding of the genes that control aging. Full story here.
Sci-Simplified: Why is COVID-19 causing breathing difficulties? Can proning benefit patients? Is it safe and effective?
One of the most difficult symptoms that patients continue to struggle with during and sometimes after recovery from a COVID-19 infection has been difficulty breathing. Especially in the second wave, which was mainly triggered by newer variants like Delta, a significant portion of those infected felt short of breath and struggled to get enough gas into their lungs. As experts continue to warn of a new, albeit gentler wave, here’s a quick guide to how COVID-19 is affecting breathing, and how techniques like pronation can help. Read it here.
Oxford Research suggests greater efficacy of Covishield vaccine with extended interval, booster injection and mixing with Pfizer
A study by researchers at the University of Oxford found that a long 45-week or 10-month interval between the first and second dose of the Covishield vaccine causes a better immune response. The study points out that the difference of 44 to 45 weeks between the two doses increased the number of antibodies by almost four times compared to the current regimen 8 to 12 weeks apart. Read more here.
Environment and wildlife
Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021: The funniest entries yet (PHOTOS)
The 2021 Comedy Pet Photo Awards are back to bring smiles back to people! This competition aims to celebrate the positive and vital role that pets can have in our lives, and to encourage and raise awareness of animal welfare in general. To celebrate the new edition of this competition, the organizers have published some of this year’s favorite entries. Check them all out here.
Gigantic lake abruptly disappears from rugged Antarctic ice shelf, satellite images reveal
Despite the rigorous scientific examination of the geology of Antarctica, there remain several mysterious phenomena that crop up from time to time. Such an event has now been reported recently in the eastern part of the White Continent, where a gigantic lake on the Amery Ice Shelf suddenly and completely disappeared! Read all about it here.
Climate emergency! Global sea level rise to put 410 million people at risk by 2100: study
The impact of changing climatic conditions is already observable in the form of frequent and intense storms, heat waves, droughts and torrential rains in many parts of the world. But now scientists have also estimated that as climate change causes sea level rise, a whopping 410 million people could be displaced by 2100! Keep reading about these drastic consequences here.
Features of the day of asteroids
Asteroid 101: A brief history of how asteroids were first identified and classified by 19th century astronomers
In the first of this three-part asteroid article series, written by Dr Abhay Deshpande – a senior scientist (physicist) working for SAMEER, MeitY R&D lab, Indian government – we take a trip down memory lane to see the universe’s earliest beliefs, how new planets were discovered and how this led to the discovery and subsequent classification of asteroids by 19th century astronomers. Full story here.
Asteroid 101: classification of asteroids, their position, interactions with Earth, etc.
In this article in the series, we explore the types of asteroids that exist in the solar system, the position of asteroids in the cosmic world, what near-Earth asteroids are, and what happens when these space rocks head for. to our home planet. Read it all here.
Asteroid 101: asteroid collisions, impact craters, and how such a crater solved the mystery of dinosaur extinction
In the third and final edition of this series of articles, we take a closer look at how collisions of asteroids with celestial bodies lead to the formation of impact craters, the type of impact craters that exist on Earth. and how such a crater was crucial in helping us solve the mystery of the dinosaur extinction. Read here.
Asteroid Day: Is asteroid mining the next big thing in space exploration? Here’s all you need to know
As you read this article on a laptop or smartphone, take a moment to look at your surroundings. You can easily spot a few electronic devices, which were created from precious and rare materials mined from deep within the Earth. But as the demand for these products increases, the resources inside the Earth are depleted. In the pursuit of solving this problem, the endless sea of resources offered by the cosmic world, such as wandering asteroids, has attracted considerable attention. To learn more about the possibility of asteroid mining, click here.
Feature of National Physicians Day
Doctors Day: Shining the Spotlight on Mental Health – 1 in 3 health workers report symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD
Amid the ongoing war against the invisible enemy in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lifesaving role of medics and other frontline warriors is more exposed than ever. As we thank these public health heroes, it is also a good time to recognize and address the serious challenges they face on a daily basis, on and off duty. Read about the trauma of the pandemic and the overall mental health impacts doctors and healthcare workers have suffered here.
For weather, science and COVID-19 updates on the go, download The weather channel app (on Android and iOS store). It’s free!