Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.

The 'executioner protein' MLKL chews through its own cell membrane during the cell suicide program called necroptosis.
The 'executioner protein' MLKL chews through its own cell membrane during the cell suicide program called necroptosis.
Credit: Shutterstock

Cells in our bodies die all the time, and now we know just how fast.

If this process doesn't work properly, the consequences can be dire. For example, cancerous cells, happily living on, having slipped the grasp of the Grim Reaper, begin to spread instead of dying off. [Read more about process.]

In the necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt, researchers discovered a broken jar containing what appeared to be a hunk of 3,300-year-old cheese — possibly the oldest known cheese in the world.
In the necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt, researchers discovered a broken jar containing what appeared to be a hunk of 3,300-year-old cheese — possibly the oldest known cheese in the world.
Credit: Courtesy of Enrico Greco, University of Catania, Italy

If you are still disappointed about being denied the opportunity to drink the toxic red mummy juice unearthed in Egypt last month, we have some good news for you. Researchers have just discovered the world's oldest cheese (also in Saqqara, Egypt), and it is almost certainly cursed… or at least contaminated. [Read more about the cheese.]

Towering statues called moai are scattered across Chile's Easter Island.
Towering statues called moai are scattered across Chile's Easter Island.
Credit: Shutterstock

In popular science literature, much ink has been spilled on the supposed collapse of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, as it's known in the local language.

Previous archaeological research has shown that no one clan had all the stone resources within its territory to make these massive monuments, and that there were preferred quarries for each type of stone. For example, the majority of moai came from a singletuff source, and most of the pukao came from a single red scoria quarry complex. In the new study, Dale Simpson, Jr., an adjunct professor of anthropology at the College of DuPage in Illinois, set out to investigate the origin of basalt stone tools that were used in the moai carving. [Read more about the people.]

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Aug. 12, 2018. It is the first mission ever to attempt to touch the sun.
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Aug. 12, 2018. It is the first mission ever to attempt to touch the sun.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Speechless is not a word typically used to describe Nicky Fox, mission scientist for the Parker Solar Probe at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. But that was her reaction in the wee hours today (Aug. 12) as she watched NASA's Parker Solar Probe launch on an unprecedented mission to the sun. [Read more about the launch.]

Two brain scans (one from the top of the woman's head, and one from the side) showing the small cyst in her eyelid. The red arrows indicate the cyst.
Two brain scans (one from the top of the woman's head, and one from the side) showing the small cyst in her eyelid. The red arrows indicate the cyst.
Credit: BMJ Case Reports 2018

Nearly three decades ago, a 14-year-old in the United Kingdom got hit in the eye during a game of badminton and lost her contact lens. No big deal, right? Well, 28 years later, doctors found the missing contact … embedded in a cyst in her left eyelid. [Read more about the discovery.]

A mummy that was long thought to have been naturally preserved showed traces of compounds that were commonly used in Egyptian mummification thousands of years later.
A mummy that was long thought to have been naturally preserved showed traces of compounds that were commonly used in Egyptian mummification thousands of years later.
Credit: Raffaella Bianucci, University of Turin

Embalming in ancient Egypt predated the pharaohs, an ancient mummy reveals. That would mean that the practice began at least 1,500 years earlier than once thought.

More than a century ago, the mummy was discovered in Egypt. The exact location is unknown, though it is thought to have come from the ancient southern city of Gebelein on the Nile River, and represents a man who was about 20 to 30 years old when he died, the scientists reported. The mummy was acquired in 1901 by the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, and dates to 3700 B.C. to 3500 B.C., according to the study. [Read more about the revelation.]

The researchers used multispectral imaging to reveal the images and text on the map.
The researchers used multispectral imaging to reveal the images and text on the map.
Credit: Image by Lazarus Project / MegaVision / RIT / EMEL, courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

A 1491 map that likely influenced Christopher Columbus's conception of world geography is getting a new lease on life, now that researchers have revealed its faded, hidden details with cutting-edge technology. [Read more about the map.]

Millions of pounds of dead fish testify to the lethal power of Florida's red tide.
Millions of pounds of dead fish testify to the lethal power of Florida's red tide.
Credit: Shutterstock

Toxic algae blooms along Florida's southwestern coast have persisted for months and are taking a deadly toll on marine wildlife. In response, Gov. Rick Scott recently declared a state of emergency in seven coastal counties affected by the algae, which creates a condition known as "red tide." [Read more about the emergency.]

Gamma-ray bursts from distant stars, as shown in this artist's illustration, are one possible source of the ultra-powerful "OMG particles" that occasionally hit scientists' detectors on Earth.
Gamma-ray bursts from distant stars, as shown in this artist's illustration, are one possible source of the ultra-powerful "OMG particles" that occasionally hit scientists' detectors on Earth.
Credit: NASA/SkyWorks Digital

Right now, as you read this very text, your DNA is getting sliced up by tiny, invisible bullets. The damage-dealers are known as cosmic rays, even though they are absolutely not rays — but the name stuck from a historical misunderstanding. Instead, they're particles: electrons and protons, mostly, but occasionally heavier things like helium or even iron nuclei. [Read more about the discovery.]

Getting too little sleep is tied to a slew of ill health effects, and now, researchers say sleep deprivation could contribute to loneliness as well. And this loneliness could be "contagious."

Surprisingly, the lonely feeling tied to sleep deprivation may also be socially "contagious." The study found that when well-rested people had a brief encounter with a sleep-deprived person, the well-rested people reported feeling lonelier themselves. This suggests there may be a "viral contagion of social isolation" linked to sleep loss, the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Aug. 14) in the journal Nature Communications. [Read more about the condition.]

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