Reporting science has become more mainstream in media around the world and India is also catching up quickly. But latest scientific research is published in a variety of journals, making it hard for readers to keep track. What’s harder is understanding the crux of a scientific finding with the relevant context and without misinterpretation. We at ThePrint focus on covering science news in India, but want our readers to be updated on the latest global findings as well.
ScientiFix, our new weekly feature, will offer you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to the best sources to read them. It’s your fix to stay on top of the latest in science.
A new quantum device now alters our perception of sequence of events, especially ‘before’ and ‘after’
All our known laws of the universe become extremely confusing as we go down to the quantum realm. Scientists have now created a quantum switch that can jumble a sequence of two events. It’s done by putting particles of light through different paths, with the ability to alter the sequence of events. Confusing? Read this Science News piece to know what this is about.
90,000-year-old fossil of first-generation human hybrid is first such specimen
There was a time in history when “humans” weren’t just modern humans (homo sapiens), but had several other subspecies. Two of those were Neanderthals and Denisovans. We have ample evidence in our DNA that all subspecies mated with each other, but we had never before discovered a first-generation hybrid, until now. Read ThePrint’s own piece to know more.
The house sparrow underwent genetic modifications to eat starch so it could live closer to humans
Remember those tittering sparrows from childhood that were once everywhere but have since disappeared? The species, Bactrianus sparrows, seems to have co-evolved with us over the millennia, just like dogs. Human food changed their preferred diet from seeds to food waste and altered the shape of their beaks. A DNA comparison with wild sparrows has revealed a lot of genetic modifications. Forbes has the gist of it.
Steve, the new type of aurora from Canada that made news last year, was not an aurora at all
Last year, amateur aurora watchers saw an atmospheric phenomenon that looked like a colourful aurora ribbon in the sky and named it Steve (later ‘backronymed’ to Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) as a homage to the movie Over the Hedge. Scientists have now concluded that the relatively common Steve isn’t an aurora at all. It is just a stream of hot particles moving in the ionosphere. Read a succinct summary here from astronomy.com
Japan’s Hayabusa2 is all ready to land on an asteroid and bring back samples to Earth
Sample-return missions, where a craft collects extraterrestrial samples and brings them back to Earth for us to study, are very exciting and also quite rare.
We have samples from the Moon and a comet, and micrograms of samples from Hayabusa1. The second mission will collect a substantial amount and return to earth by 2020. The Planetary Society has all the details you need to know.